According to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, only Russian President Vladimir Putin can make a decision regarding an exchange of Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko for Russian prisoners held in Ukraine, RIA Novosti reported.
“Russia will act in accordance with the laws of the Russian Federation. In all other respects, only the President can make a decision. What the decision is, I cannot say yet,” Peskov stated.
After the Russian court ruled that Savchenko was guilty of killing two Russian journalists, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced he was willing to exchange Russian prisoners being held in Ukraine to ensure the release of Savchenko.
Earlier, it was reported that Moscow has not yet decided what to do with Savchenko after the trial.
“Any final decisions concerning the fate of Nadiya Savchenko will not be taken before the judgement enters into legal force. The issue is not discussed on a daily basis,” a source was quoted as saying by Kommersant a few days before the judge gave the verdict.
On Tuesday, a Russian court found Savchenko guilty of complicity in the killing of two Russian journalists and sentenced her to 22 years in prison.
The judge in the Russian town of Donetsk said Savchenko had been driven by "political hatred".
"A propaganda machine is at work here, absent of justice and freedom," Savchenko’s lawyer wrote on Twitter.
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.
Savchenko was elected to the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada in absentia in October of 2014, and became an official delegate of the PACE several months later.
Savchenko declared a dry hunger strike on March 3rd after the Donetsk City Court in the Rostov region announced that she would not be given a chance to make her final closing statement during a court hearing.
Rallies in support of her immediate release have taken place in Ukraine, Russia and other countries around the World, and many western leaders consider the case to be little more than a show trial.