Savchenko ‘freed in prisoner swap’

Nadiya Savchenko(L) Yevgeny Yerofeyev (C) and Alexander Alexandrov,Image copyright

Image caption

Savchenko (L) had been jailed for 22 years while Yerofeyev (C) and Alexandrov were facing long sentences in Russia

Russia has released jailed Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko following a prisoner swap, local media say.

There has been no official confirmation but sources said she was swapped for Russian prisoners Yevgeny Yerofeyev and Alexander Alexandrov held by Ukraine.

Savchenko was sentenced to 22 years in jail for killing two journalists in eastern Ukraine – charges she strenuously denied.

She has become a symbol of Ukrainian resistance against Russia at home.

The 34-year-old pilot was being flown from the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don to Kiev on board Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s plane, sources said.

Yerofeyev and Alexandrov were being flown from Kiev to Moscow on board a plane belonging to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Ukraine said the two men were elite members of Russian military intelligence but Russia insisted they were not on active duty when they were captured in eastern Ukraine.

The pair were sentenced to 14 years in jail last month after being found guilty of waging an “aggressive war” against Ukraine, committing a terrorist act and using weapons to provoke an armed conflict.

A prisoner swap had long been considered likely.

comments powered by Disqus