Russian human rights groups support the continuation of prisoner exchanges with Ukraine

Leading Russian human rights advocates welcome the transfer of Nadiya Savchenko to Ukraine and Evgeny Erofeev and Alexander Alexandrov to the Russian Federation. They hope to continue the exchange of prisoners.

“I’m very happy for Nadiya Savchenko and our guys. Nadiya Savchenko is going to have a triumphal life. She is a hero. I’m very pleased that common sense has prevailed here. The trial was a failure, as was her conviction to long years behind bars,” said Lyudmila Alexeyeva in her interview with Interfax. Alexeyeva is a leading human rights activist and a founding member of the Moscow Helsinki Watch Group.

Alexeyeva voiced her worries about Evgeny Erofeev and Alexander Alexandrov. They were sentenced to long years in prison in Ukraine but they may not be welcomed home. “I’m worried about them. I will be very happy if everything is fine with them,” she added.

The Executive Director of the All-Russian Movement For Human Rights, Lev Ponomaryov, expressed his hope that the process of returning prisoners to their homeland—initiated by the transfer of Nadiya Savchenko to Ukraine and Evgeny Erofeev and Alexander Alexandrov to Russia—will be continued.

“It is good that our relations are at such a level that it was made possible. Of course, this exchange gives hope that further steps, which would enhance our relations, can be taken,” Ponomaryov said.

Ponomaryov noted that the next step should be the return of Ukrainian citizens currently serving their sentences in Russia, including Ukrainian film-maker Oleg Sentsov, Nikolay Karpyuk and Stanislav Klykh to their homeland. Klykh was accused of participating in hostilities against federal forces in Chechnya in mid-1990.

“The total number of them is more than 20. There are also Russians who are serving their sentence in Ukraine. I believe that the exchange of prisoners should be continued,” the human rights activist added.

  Russia, Ukraine, Savchenko