Ukrainians Illegally held in Russia are Coming Home

Дата: 14 June 2016
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Ukrainians Illegally held in Russia are Coming Home.

This announcement was made by President Petro Poroshenko on his Facebook page.

“Finally! Yuriy Soloshenko and Gennadiy Afanasyev are on board of a Ukrainian aircraft flying from Moscow to Ukraine. How long have we fought for this moment!” posted Poroshenko.

First Vice-Speaker Iryna Gerashchenko wrote on Facebook that she, along with a representative of the president, Svyatoslav Tsegolko, flew to Moscow to recover the prisoners.

“On our way to get them! And in two hours we will already be in Moscow.  Already in the plane! All the details of this wonderful day will be available in a few hours. Yuriy Soloshenko and Gennadiy Afanasyev are flying to Kyiv. The task from the President is completed. Two more of our Ukrainians are free!” said Gerashchenko.

On Tuesday, at approximately 5pm, President Petro Poroshenko will meet with the two former prisoners, reports the President’s press-service.

As Russian Interfax reported earlier, with a reference to a source in Moscow, Afanasyev and Soloshenko will be hospitalized on arrival in Ukraine. Soloshenko has signs of cancer and Afanasyev is suffering from a blood disease.

Earlier, Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko spoke about a possible exchange of two Russian citizens, Yevgeniya Mefyodova and Maxim Sakauova, who have been held in connection with the May 2 incidents in Odessa, for Soloshenko and Afanasyev.

According to the Odessa periodical Dumskaya, Afanasyev and Soloshenko were exchanged for organizers and participants from the so-called “People’s Council of Bessarabia,” Odessans Elena Glischinska and Vitaliy Didenko.

Dumskaya reports that Elena Glischinska was the director of the New Wave television company and was arrested by the SBU in April 2015. Eighteen months ago, in prison, she gave birth to a son. She has two other underage children as well.

Didenko was a chief editor of the InfoCenter website. The court sentenced him to three years in prison and his case is currently facing appeal.

RIA Novosti reported that Russian aircraft delivered the Ukrainians Glischinska  and Didenko to Moscow.

Meanwhile, the Russian president’s press service reported that Vladimir Putin pardoned Gennadiy Afanasyev and Yuriy Soloshenko.

At about 6pm, aircraft from Ukrainian Defense Ministry carrying Soloshenko and Afanasyev landed at Borispyl airport. The airplane landed at a part of the airport used by the Defense Ministry, after which the two Ukrainians were taken to the hospital in a motorcade, reported UNIAN.

26-year-old Gennadiy Afanasyev was charged in Russia with creating a terrorist group in Crimea alongside Oleg Sentsov, and was sentenced in 2015 to seven years in prison. 74-year-old Yuriy Soloshenko was serving a 6-year sentence on charges of espionage.

According to the Ukrainian Crisis Media Center, 29 citizens of Ukraine are still illegally detained in Russia, including the producer Oleg Sentsov and activist Olexandr Kolchenko.

Photo from Iryna Gerashchenko’s Facebook

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