Russian soldiers given 14 years in jail

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A Russian soldier, Sergeant Aleksander Aleksandrov, is pictured during a court hearing in Kyiv on April 18.

Two Russian soldiers, Captain Yevgeny Yerofeyev and Sergeant Aleksander Aleksandrov, were found guilty on April 18 by a court in Kyiv on charges of terrorism and fighting the Ukrainian armed forces in Ukraine.

The two were sentenced to 14 years in prison.

The Russian soldiers were captured in May 2015 during a firefight in eastern Ukraine. A Ukrainian serviceman was killed during their capture. The two soldiers told Ukrainian authorities, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and a journalist from independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta that they were serving Russian soldiers at the time of their capture.

The Kremlin denied the Russian soldiers’ claim, and the two later retracted it. However, there is overwhelming evidence that Moscow has continually lied about the involvement of its troops in fighting in Ukraine, and in the invasion an annexation of the Ukrainian territory of Crimea, since early 2014.

There is speculation in the Ukrainian and international media that the two Russian soldiers may now be swapped for Ukrainian hostage Nadiya Savcehnko, who was abducted in Ukraine in June 2014 and later turned up in detention in Russia.

Savchenko was sentenced to 22 years in prison after being subjected to a sham trial by a Russian court. She has been on a dry hunger strike for nearly two weeks, and her condition is reported to be critical.

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