MOSCOW, May 25 (RAPSI) – Petition for pardon of two Russian nationals, Alexander Aleksandrov and Yevgeny Yerofeyev convicted of terrorism by Kiev court, has been forwarded to Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko, RIA Novosti reported Wednesday citing Aleksandrov’s lawyer Valentin Rybin.
Rybin refused to name people who had lodged the petition until Aleksandrov and Yerofeyev “leave Ukraine”.
Oksana Sokolovskaya, the lawyer for Yerofeyev, said that she knew nothing about filing the petition.
Shortly before the sentence of Aleksandrov and Yerofeyev took effect, Poroshenko adjusted the procedure of pardon in Ukraine. According to the amendments, not only convicts but their relatives, defense lawyers, ombudsman or members of the Commission for a pardon can now seek pardon.
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, the Goloseyevsky District Court of Kiev sentenced Yerofeyev and Aleksandrov to 14 years in prison each.
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.