In exchange: why the Kremlin allowed the transfer Savchenko Ukraine

Theoretical possibility

The Kremlin has officially entered the exchange were convicted by the Russian court of the Ukrainian pilots Hope Savchenko on under trial in Kiev of Russian citizens Alexander Alexander and Evgeny Erofeev, which Kiev calls “soldiers of the GRU”. The announcement was made by the head of the presidential administration Sergei Ivanov, answering a question of journalists. “With regard to the theoretically possible exchange is theoretically possible,” said March 25, Ivanov, being on an official visit in Beijing (quoted by TASS).

His announcement came the day after talks between U.S. Secretary of state John Kerry with Russian President Vladimir Putin. According to the results of the negotiation day, held on March 24, Kerry said that he raised the issue of Savchenko’s release “for humanitarian reasons”. Putin, Kerry said, “made it clear that this is an issue that at some point we will be able to do.” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov responded by saying that Kerry received a “reply all”.

After Ivanov’s statements of Ukrainian politicians and officials talking about the issue Savchenko decided. “According to our information, there is a decision that she will be transferred to Ukraine, or in exchange, or it can be transferred to Ukraine on the international legal instruments to serve their sentences in Ukraine”, — stated in the March 26 broadcast of the TV show “Shuster.Life” Yulia Tymoshenko, the leader of the party “Batkivshchyna”, which Savchenko was elected to Parliament. The Ambassador at large MFA of Ukraine Dmitry Kuleba said this on air of “Rain” that Savchenko can give Ukraine up to the beginning of the summer.

Attorney Savchenko Ilya Novikov said that according to his sources, the Kerry negotiations on Savchenko were successful. According to him, the Russian leadership may within one to two weeks to determine how and when Savchenko will be transferred.

How and when

Exchange is possible in full compliance with Russian legislation and the decision may be taken only by the President of Russia, called the exchange Ivanov. The President’s press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said that any decisions the President has not yet accepted.

The Ministry of justice in October 2015 called the legislative basis for the exchange of Savchenko. In a press-service of the Ministry referred to article 471 of the code and stressed that the exchange is possible only after the verdict in the case, if the Ukrainian side with this sentence is I agree. After sentencing, the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko said that Ukraine will never recognize the sentence.

To request the transfer of Savchenko can her lawyers or representatives of the government of Ukraine, says lawyer Vladimir Postnik. “From the point of view of the law they can request that Savchenko was serving a sentence at home,” he adds.

Ukrainian authorities have not sought extradition of the condemned, was told in the press service of the Ministry of justice after the verdict. In case of receipt of such a request, it will be considered “in accordance with the provisions of the Convention on the transfer of sentenced persons of 1983 and the Criminal procedure code of the Russian Federation”. According to this Convention, the Ministry of justice of Ukraine shall, in writing, submit a request to the Russian Agency.

According to lawyer Victor Bubalina who defended convicted for the intention of sale of the weapon the Russian Victor bout, the Russian legislation does not contain procedures for the exchange, despite the fact that earlier exchanges of prisoners were carried out. Counsel notes that exchanged individuals must be in the same procedural status. “Savchenko is convicted, then the person will change, too, should be condemned. Both sentences should come into force,” explains Bubrin. Alexandrov and Evrofeev, which theoretically can convert Savchenko, not convicted yet.

The decision to share is a prerogative of Putin, I agree with the officials of Postnik and Bobrin. “It is only the President as the chief Executive,” notes Bobrin.

Rhetorical warming

Kerry is not to “put pressure on Putin about Savchenko,” said Saturday Peskov in interview to TV channel TVTS. Theme Savchenko “was not at the forefront of” negotiations, although the issue was raised during the conversation with Kerry, and when dealing with Putin, German foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, he said.

The two Central themes of the talks Kerry in Moscow should become Syria and Ukraine, announced the day before the visit of the senior official of the American administration.

The parties agreed to continue coordinating actions in Syria to secure the cessation of fighting, to prevent the indiscriminate use of weapons, to continue efforts to ensure humanitarian access to all parts of the country. Also Russia and the United States agreed to call on all parties to the Syrian conflict to release prisoners, to intensify efforts to create conditions for a political settlement. According to Kerry, already by August in Syria should be established “the basis for political transition and the new Constitution”.

At the same time, Moscow and Washington remain divided over the practical implementation of the Minsk agreements, said following the talks Lavrov. Kerry stressed that only the full implementation of the Minsk agreements, including the transfer under Ukrainian control over the border with Russia, will lead to the lifting of sanctions against Moscow. Exchange Ukrainian army has no relation to the implementation of the Minsk agreements, because Russia is not party to the conflict, said on Friday Ivanov.

Summing up the talks, Lavrov said that they started “with a detailed conversation about our bilateral relations”. Ended this conversation by the fact that the parties agreed “to establish a regular review of relationships with the aim of finding mutually acceptable solutions”.

In relations between Russia and the USA in recent times has changed the tone of the dialogue, at the level of rhetoric there has been a warming, said the General Director of the Russian Council on international Affairs Andrey Kortunov. Kerry said that the U.S. now have a better understanding of the Russian position on Syria, and Putin said that without the support of the USA and personally the President Barack Obama in Syria failed to make progress.

Question about how to restore relations in full no real strategic dialogue between the countries will be possible only after coming to power in the U.S. the new administration, but now Moscow and Washington demonstrate the understanding and agreement that you need to start with at least restore contacts, says Kortunov.