The Press Spokesman for the President of Russia, Dmitry Peskov, has responded to Ukrainian President, Petro Poroshenko, with regard to the release of Nadiya Savchenko. RBC reported that Poroshenko has officially stated his readiness to exchange Savchenko for Russian prisoners.
“We have noted President Poroshenko’s statements regarding Savchenko. I am not ready to say more. I can however state that we have recorded the statements of Savchenko’s lawyer, Mark Feygin. He has said that the defendant has ended her hunger strike. The trial is still ongoing,” Peskov added.
Poroshenko discussed the exchange at a joint press conference in Ankara with Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. “If you are asking if I am ready to make an exchange then yes, I am. As the President of Ukraine, I will use my constitutional right and exchange Nadiya. I will do everything in my power to get her back home as soon as possible,” Poroshenko said.
He added that the Ukrainian government had not received any credible exchange proposals for nearly two years. Savchenko was strongly against the exchange of herself for Russian prisoners. “I do not want to be exchanged as doing so would be like exchanging the innocent for the guilty. I am an innocent woman so no exchanges, no bidding and no delaying,” she said.
Savchenko has been charged with the murder of two Russian journalists. It is widely believed that Savchenko was in fact captured by Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) separatists in eastern Ukraine and was illegally transported to Russia, where the case was fabricated against her.
On March 2nd, the prosecutor’s office requested that she be sentenced to 23 years in a penal colony and given a fine of 100,000 rubles ($1,400).