Afanasyev has urged foreign governments not to lift sanctions against the Russian Federation / screenshot

"If there are foreign journalists here, I want to you to address you. I’ve gone through torture and pain, just like many others. I am asking you to not abandon the sanctions, to continue with this policy, to not cancel any [sanctions]... Thank you. Don’t abandon [the sanctions]. And maybe Oleh Sentsov Oleksandr Kolchenko and other Ukrainian political prisoners will return soon," Afanasyev said.

As UNIAN reported earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree to pardon the wrongfully convicted Afanasyev and Soloshenko.

Read alsoPlane with Soloshenko, Afanasyev lands at Boryspil airport: Swap operation overThe aircraft of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry with Ukrainian political prisoners Yuriy Afanasyev and Hennadiy Soloshenko earlier today landed at the airport Boryspil, and both Ukrainians were immediately taken to hospital.

SBU chairman's adivor Yuriy Tandit said that Afanasyev and Soloshenko had been exchanged for two Russian citizens who were related to the tragic events in Odesa on May 2, 2014.