Ukrainian President Zelensky pardons 12 Russians for prisoner exchange

Russian lawyer Valentin Rybin said that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky signed pardon decrees for at least 12 Russian citizens convicted in Ukraine, reports Interfax.

"The decrees to pardon 12 Russian convicts, who have already been brought from penitentiaries and are gathered at the centers for persons on the exchange list, are issued. I believe that this is a preparation for the beginning of the exchange procedure. The Ukrainian side has fulfilled almost all its obligations achieved in the negotiations, because persons, who fall under the Pardon decree of Ukrainian President, are brought to the gathering canter," said Rybin.

Rybin has also noted that Russian citizen Ruslan Hajiyev, who was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment, is on the list, but still is not delivered to the gathering point and there is no a decree of his pardoning.

"He was on the list, but he was never brought to the exchange, and there is no decree on his pardoning. I assume that Ukraine does not want to release him," said Rybin.

The lawyer did not exclude that the refusal to extradite Hajiyev could complicate the exchange.

Rybin is a lawyer for former participants of Crimean war Alexander Baranov and Maxim Odintsov, who are convicted of treason and desertion, and they are also included in the exchange list.

Russian side included 24 sailors captured in the Kerch Strait and another 11 convicts, including Director Oleh Sentsov,  reports Interfax news agency, citing an informed source.

Previously, Russian Media said that Russia included 35 prisoners in the list for the exchange. It was reported that Volodymyr Tsemakh could be exchanged for Oleh Sentsov. Tsemakh's extradition to Russia was one of the conditions for Sentsov's exchange.

  Zelensky, Russia, Tsemakh, Sentsov