MOSCOW, May 23 (RAPSI) – The sentence in the criminal case against two Russian nationals, Alexander Aleksandrov and Yevgeny Yerofeyev, found guilty of terrorism by a Ukrainian court, came into force on Monday, RIA Novosti reported.
“Yes, the sentence came in force today, the legal defense did not file an appeal,” Oksana Sokolovskaya, a lawyer for Yerofeyev told RIA Novosti.
Aleksandrov’s lawyer, Valentin Rybin, said that the sentence will take effect on midnight of May 24, because the sentence was read to the accused on a holiday. Rybin also said that it’s unlikely that any appeal would be filed.
Rybin also said that the defense of both Russian nationals is waiting for proceedings in the potential exchange for Ukrainian national Nadezhda Savchenko, who was convicted in Russia over the murder of two Russian journalists.
Ukrainian authorities claimed that Aleksandrov and Yerofeyev were captured in an eastern region of the country during an attack on a bridge on May 16, 2015.
The men, who faced terrorism charges, serve in the Third Special Forces Brigade, which is based in Togliatti, a city in southern Russia, according to Ukrainian officials.
The men also faced allegations of waging of a war of aggression, illegal border crossing, illegal carrying weapon and ammunition, illegal entry to an occupied territory and unleashing of war.
Moscow strongly denies the allegations. The Russian Defense Ministry said earlier that the men "were not on active service in the Russian Armed Forces" at the time of their capture in May 2015.
In April 2014, the Ukrainian authorities began a military operation in Donbas against the local residents who objected to the coup. According to the UN’s latest data, over 6,200 people have been killed in the conflict. Ukrainian officials and some Western states have repeatedly accused Russia of interfering in Ukraine’s domestic issues.
Moscow has repeatedly claimed that it has had absolutely no part in the events in southeastern Ukraine and does not supply the self-defense forces with military equipment and ammunition; that it is not a party to the domestic Ukrainian conflict and is interested in Ukraine overcoming the political and economic crisis.