15 July 2014, 19:14

Lugansk militia detains Ukrainian pilot, contemplates prisoner exchange

Lugansk militia detains Ukrainian pilot, contemplates prisoner exchange

Self-proclaimed Lugansk People's Republic (LPR) militia claim they have detained the pilot of the Sukhoi Su-25 attack aircraft of the Ukrainian army, which was shot down near Krasnyi Liman yesterday, Interfax reports.

"The pilot has been detained and is being questioned. We will find out what and how, what purposes and objectives there were," the LPR militia headquarters told reporters.

The pilot is not being mistreated, the source assured.

"He is held in conditions which meet international requirements; everything is humane, without cruelty. He is being fed, no one is beating him," said the headquarters representative.

A day earlier militia said they had detained four crew members of the downed Ukrainian Antonov An-26 military transport aircraft.

LPR’s militiamen have not ruled out the possibility of exchanging the An-26 crew members and the Su-25 pilot for the militia supporters held by the Ukrainian Army.

"Of course, we would like to have them swapped and some of our comrades to be released, maybe, the Lugansk Guard leader Aleksandr Kharitonov or Lugansk regional councilor Arsen Klinchayev," LPR people's front leader Alexei Chmilenko said, adding that the question of exchanging the detained pilots largely depends on the Ukrainian position.

"A great deal here depends on Kiev. Very often it turns out there is no one else to be swapped for," LPR people's front leader stressed.

Speaking of the detained Ukrainian Su-25 aircraft pilot Chmilenko said that "currently he is a captive. His fate will be decided by the (militia) commanders,” adding that “it is not ruled out that they decided to swap him, but he may also be asked to do some work."

He emphasized that militiamen were not going to hand down any harsh verdicts to the pilot.

"No one is going to execute him," Chmilenko assured.

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