Washington is not considering the possibility of exchanging sentenced Ukrainian Pilot, Nadiya Savchenko, for Russians convicted by the United States.
"We do not consider this possibility," the spokesman for the US Embassy in Moscow, Will Stevens, told RBC. The US Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, in turn, has called reports of such talks "ridiculous," RIA Novosti reported. Earlier, Interfax, citing informed sources, reported that Moscow is negotiating the exchange of Savchenko for a group of Russians, including those sentenced to various terms in the United States. The news agency didn't name the parties of the negotiation.
Pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, who was arrested in 2010 in Liberia and later extradited to the United States, was sentenced to 20 years in prison on charges of participating in a criminal conspiracy to smuggle cocaine worth $100 million into the United States. Viktor Bout, in turn, was extradited to the US from Thailand, and received a 25 year sentence for smuggling weapons. The official accusation implicated him in a conspiracy to kill American citizens, because the weapons which Bout was selling were meant for the rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), recognized as a terrorist organization by Washington.
Russia considers the charges against both men far-fetched and demands their release. "They did not kill US citizens, and the intention for which they were sentenced by the American justice system have not been proven adequately," the Commissioner for Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, Konstantin Dolgov, recently said. In his speech, he criticized US and EU diplomats who demand Savchenko be released, whose guilt in the murder of Russian citizens, he stressed, "was proven by objective evidence and data." On March 22nd, the Ukrainian pilot was found guilty of the murder of two VGTRK journalists as well as illegally entering Russia and sentenced to 22 years in prison.
Officials responsible for the arrest and conviction of Bout and Yaroshenko were put on Moscow's sanctions list in April 2013 as "complicit in the violation of the human rights and freedoms of Russian citizens abroad." In April 2015, Russia's Investigative Committee opened a criminal case due to the abduction of Yaroshenko by the US and Liberian intelligence agencies. The Russian authorities have also repeatedly pointed out that both prisoners have health issues but do not get proper medical attention.
"The US is committed to fulfilling its obligations under international and national law on decent accommodations for detainees and prisoners, including providing them with adequate medical care. We also provide consular access to foreign prisoners in accordance with the Vienna Convention," Stevens said to RBC.