Ukrainian fighter pilot Nadia Savchenko can be exchanged only after the verdict in her case in announced, said her lawyer Ilya Novikov in a commentary to 112 Ukraine TV channel.
“There are too many surmises about Savchenko’s exchange – since the very first day she was brought to Russia. Too many speculations and fantasies. As far as I know, the Russian side never confirmed whether the actual exchange will take place. We hope that after the verdict is announced, Russian officials can boast of themselves and tell everyone Savchenko was guilty, thus maintaining their appearance. Then, maybe, she will be exchanged, no sooner than the verdict is announced”, Novikov said.
Previously, Mikhail Fedotov, Human Rights Adviser of the President of the Russian Federation, said there is a chance that Nadia Savchenko can be exchanged for Alexandr Alexandrov and Evgeniy Yerofeev, servicemen of Russian Special Forces. The two fought in Donbas conflict and were detained by Ukrainian troops near the town of Schastya, Luhansk region, in May 2015. The servicemen are charged with terrorism.
Nadiya Savchenko is planning to start another hunger strike. Her sister Vira told Ukrainian news outlet TSN the protest method was difficult but effective. "We understand that the court process will be completed on December 24. The sentence could be before or after the New Year. Anyway, after the verdict, Nadiya will go back on hunger strike. In the first ten days she will only drink water, and after that she will even stop drinking. She will only breathe. Nadiya knows that it works", Vira Savchenko said. Her sister's pervious hunger strike of over more than 80 days left her weak and under constant need of surveillance.
Nadia Savchenko, MP and former officer of Ukraine’s Air Force, was captured in Luhansk region and brought to Russia by pro-Kremlin mercenaries in summer 2014. She is charged with murder of two Russian TV reporters who at the time worked in the conflict zone without any permission from the Ukrainian government. Russian prosecutors insist that Savchenko allegedly adjusted fire during the attack of Ukrainian troops, which killed the reporters. The pilot is also charged with illegal crossing of the Russian border. The pilot and her defense team reject all charges and claim she was already a prisoner of war when the two Russian TV journalists were killed, and she was brought to Russia by force.