Mark Feygin / Photo from UNIAN

Russian lawyer Mark Feygin called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to facilitate the exchange of his client, Ukrainian journalist Roman Sushchenko, who is being tried in Moscow on "espionage" charges.

Feygin told UNIAN that the "political" case itself, the ongoing trial and everything related is the result of strained relations between the two countries.

At the same time, the lawyer noted that he did not lose hope for a "humanitarian decision" in the Sushchenko case, as happened with his other client, Ilmi Umerov of Crimea.

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"Sushchenko's possible exchange for Russian citizens brought to criminal responsibility in Ukraine would be a really timely way out showing willingness of state leaders to solving the problems of Ukrainian political prisoners. Many expect this, both in Ukraine and Russia," Feygin said.

Read alsoOSCE calls on Ukraine to probe threats to journalists, tells of efforts to free Roman SushchenkoIn the appeal, he also stressed that the work of "political" lawyers like him should be protected from illegal pressure and persecution.

The lawyer recalled that he faced artificial obstacles in this category of cases. Currently, according to the defender, "[pro-Kremlin blogger Anatoly] Shariy, who is wanted for committing several criminal offenses in Ukraine, and accused by his sister of pedophilia, is being used as an instrument against Feygin's efforts in the Sushchenko case.

On December 6, 2017, the Qualification Commission of the Moscow Chamber of Attorneys considered Shariy's complaint against Feygin. The meeting was postponed to January 24, 2018, then – to February 27, and further – to April 24.

As UNIAN reported earlier, on March 27, the Moscow court extended Sushchenko's term in custody for another six months pending trial.

The French-based Ukrinform correspondent was detained in Moscow on September 30, 2016. The Federal Security Service branded him an operative of Ukrainian intelligence and accused him of "espionage".