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25 May, 2016 08:31

2 Russians on plane to Moscow after reported swap for Ukraine’s Savchenko – RT sources

A plane carrying Russian citizens Evgeny Erofeev and Aleksandr Aleksandrov is flying to Moscow, RT sources reported. The two Russian were reportedly swapped for Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko earlier on Wednesday.

Follow RT's LIVE UPDATES on Savchenko's swap

READ MORE: Ukrainian pilot Savchenko pardoned by Putin, swapped for 2 Russians

A Reuters source close to the deal said that Savchenko is on board the plane that is returning to Ukraine from Russia.

"They are coming back," the Reuters source said.

The plane is heading to Borispol International Airport, 30km from Kiev, Ukrainian news website tsn.ua reported, citing sources at the VIP terminal of the airport.

Earlier Interfax sources reported that the Ukrainian president’s plane was coming to Russia to retrieve Nadezhda Savchenko, sentenced to 22 years for her part in the killing of two Russian journalists. The sources added she would be swapped for two Russian citizens jailed in Ukraine.

The exchange was reportedly to take place at Rostov-on-Don International Airport.

Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Wednesday the Kremlin had no information about the swap that was allegedly beginning.

“I'm not privy to that information,” Peskov said.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has recently said that he is ready to pardon Erofeev and Aleksandrov, if the Russian side agrees to exchange them for Nadezhda Savchenko.

In March, a Russian court found Ukrainian pilot Savchenko guilty of murdering two Russian journalists near Lugansk, in eastern Ukraine, and of illegally crossing the Russian border. According to prosecutors, she relayed the coordinates of a checkpoint where the two reporters were subsequently killed by Ukrainian Aidar Battalion artillery fire near the town of Metalist in June 2014. The attack also resulted in the deaths of Ukrainian civilians. Afterwards, Savchenko illegally crossed the border into Russia.

Russian citizens Evgeny Erofeev and Aleksandr Aleksandrov were sentenced in Ukraine in April to 14 years in prison after a district court in Kiev found them guilty of terrorist activities.

Both Erofeev and Aleksandrov, who Kiev claims are Russian military servicemen, denied the crimes they are accused of.

Nadezhda Savchenko’s lawyer Nikolay Polozov told RIA Novosti that her defense has not been notified about the swap.

“I know nothing about the exchange, neither do my colleagues,” Polozov said.

However, Aleksandr Aleksandrov’s lawyer Valentin Rybin confirmed the exchange process.

“Now you see the question being solved in accordance with the previously reached agreements,” RIA Novosti cited Rybin as saying.

Answering a question about whether that means both Russians will be exchanged for Savchenko, Rybin said, “That’s right, that’s what’s going to happen.”

Aleksandrov’s father, Anatoly, told RT that he wasn’t informed about the swap and doesn’t communicate with the lawyers.

“I’ll believe it, when I see [my son]” he told RT. “We only wait, hope and believe…we've got no other options,” Aleksandrov Senior said.