Poroshenko announced the Crimean Afanasyev’s imminent return to Ukraine

Gennady Afanasyev Gennady Afanasyev

The President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko said that the political prisoners Yury Soloshenko and Gennady Afanasyev would be released from Russian prisons after Nadezhda Savchenko.

“This is the only first step, because we will, and I can already say this, release Soloshenko and Afanasyev who have very severe health condition – cancer and sepsis,” he said at the meeting of the National Council for Reforms.

The head of the State added that there would be progress on the return of the Ukrainian POWs, who are on the occupied territory of Donbass. “We also look forward to seeing the progress for 3-4 weeks, no later,” he said.

The former Director of the Poltava defense plant “Znamya” (“Banner”) 73-year-old Yury Soloshenko was sentenced to six years of imprisonment in Russia on charges of espionage in October, 2015. Soloshenko is a citizen of Ukraine.

Crimean Gennady Afanasyev was convicted on false charges of preparing for attacks in Crimea. Other Crimeans Oleksandr Kolchenko and filmmaker Oleg Sentsov were convicted along Afanasyev.

In March, the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine requested Russia to return Afanasyev, Kolchenko, Sentsov and Soloshenko to the territory of Ukraine.

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