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Russian Soldiers Convicted in Ukraine to Appeal for Clemency

Yevgeny Yerofeyev (L) and Alexander Alexandrov sit in a cage during court hearings in Kiev.

The lawyers of Yevgeny Yerofeyev and Alexander Alexandrov — Russian soldiers serving prison sentences in Ukraine on terrorism charges — are set to petition for clemency, the lawyer Oksana Sokolovskaya wrote on Facebook Monday.

The petition will be filed with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko shortly after the verdict comes into effect on May 23, Sokolovskaya said.

On April 18, Yerofeyev and Alexandrov were sentenced to 14 years in prison by a Kiev court on charges of terrorist activity in eastern Ukraine.

The lawyers announced that they would not appeal the verdict.

The Ukrainian and Russian media previously speculated that the two Russians sentenced in Ukraine could be exchanged for former Ukrainian military pilot Nadiya Savchenko, currently in a Russian prison.

In March, she was given a 22-year sentence after she was found guilty of compliance in the murder of two Russian reporters in eastern Ukraine.

Earlier in May, Russian Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov said the ministry was not arranging the exchange of Savchenko for Yerofeyev and Alexandrov, the RIA Novosti news agency reported.

According to the minister, the ministry will only consider transferring Savchenko if she serves out her sentence in Ukraine.

Meanwhile, the first deputy speaker of the Ukrainian parliament announced Sunday that positive news on the return of Savchenko is expected in the next few days, the Interfax news agency reported.

“Good news about the Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia —Nadezhda Savchenko, Yury Afanasyev and Gennady Soloshenko — may come already before the end of May,” Irina Gerashchenko was cited as saying.

In late April, Poroshenko told the reporters he expected Savchenko to be returned to Ukraine within the next few weeks.

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