Kremlin: Sentsov, Kolchenko swap being discussed, Putin to decide
Russia and Ukraine are discussing the exchange of Ukrainian filmmaker Oleh Sentsov and Ukrainian activist Oleksandr Kolchenko, but everything will depend on a decision to be taken by Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov.
"Contacts are being maintained. Ukrainian representative for humanitarian affairs in the Minsk Group Viktor Medvedchuk is rather active. Various candidates are being discussed. In this case, the joint work is definitely being done," Peskov said, answering the question of an UNIAN correspondent, whether progress in the exchange of Sentsov and Kolchenko was possible.
Read also"Through torture and pain": Afanasyev addresses foreign journalists"Still, everything will depend, and I can speak only for ourselves, on the final say of the head of state," Peskov said.
As UNIAN reported earlier, Ukrainian film director Sentsov was arrested by Russian security service officers in the annexed Crimea in May 2014 together with pro-Ukrainian activists Oleksandr Kolchenko, Oleksiy Cherniy and Hennadiy Afanasiyev. They were all charged with plotting terrorist acts.
Sentsov and Kolchenko have denied their guilt from the day of their arrest.
On August 25, 2015, the military court in Russia's city of Rostov-on-Don sentenced Sentsov to 20 years in prison and Kolchenko was imprisoned for 10 years. They both were accused of terrorism and would be kept in a high-security penal colony.
On November 24, Russia's Supreme Court upheld the trial court's decision against Sentsov and Kolchenko.
On March 10, Russia's Justice Ministry received Ukraine's request to hand over Sentsov and three other sentenced Ukrainian citizens.
Later, it became known that the Russian Ministry of Justice had instructed the Federal Penitentiary Service to draft the documents for resolving the issue of transfer to Ukraine of four convicts, including Sentsov, for serving the remaining prison term in their homeland.
On June 1, Russia's Supreme Court refused to reconsider the sentence of Sentsov and Kolchenko.