21:34 GMT09 August 2020
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    The United States supports Russia’s decision to exchange two detained Ukrainian nationals for two journalists detained in Ukraine, State Department spokesperson John Kirby told reporters on Tuesday.

    NEW YORK (Sputnik) — On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed decrees pardoning Ukrainian nationals Soloshenko and Afanasyev who were sentenced by a Russian court to lengthy prison terms.

    "We welcome Russia’s decision to exchange Yuri Soloshenko and … Gennady Afanasyev for separatists that were convicted in Ukraine," Kirby said.

    Afanasyev was sentenced by the Moscow City Court in December 2014 to seven years in high-security colony on terrorism charges, while Soloshenko was sentenced in October 2015 to six years in high-security colony on espionage charges.

    Afanasyev and Soloshenko are being exchanged for Ukrainian journalists Elena Glischinskaya, who was accused of separatism and treason and detained in Odessa in April 2015, and Vitaliy Didenko, who was serving a prison term in a Ukrainian colony on charges of encroachment on territorial integrity of Ukraine.


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