Kremlin says not aware of possible Savchenko swap for Bout, Yaroshenko
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday he knows nothing about the possibility to exchange convicted Ukrainian pilot Nadia Savchenko for Russian citizens Viktor Bout and Konstantin Yaroshenko who are serving lengthy jail terms in the United States, Russian news agency TASS reports.
"I have not heard anything about this. I saw media reports but I have no information," Peskov told reporters, TASS wrote.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry discussed the issue of Russian citizens' confinement in American prisons last week, the presidential spokesman said. He confirmed that the names of Bout and Yaroshenko were mentioned during the conversation. Bout was sentenced in 2012 to 25 years in jail in the U.S. for alleged illegal arms deals. Pilot Yaroshenko was sentenced in 2011 to 20 years in jail in the U.S. on charges of cocaine smuggling.
"Russia continues to consistently defend the interests of its citizens. It is in this context that these names were mentioned in the conversation with Kerry," Peskov said.
Earlier, some media reported that Ukrainian pilot, MP and member of the Ukrainian delegation to PACE Nadia Savchenko, who was sentenced in Russia to 22 years in prison on murder charges, might be exchanged for a group of Russian citizens, including Viktor Bout and Konstantin Yaroshenko, who were serving lengthy prison terms in the United States.