President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko wrote on Facebook, Censor.NET reports.
"Hennadii Afanasiev and Yurii Soloshenko are finally on board the Ukrainian aircraft and are going to depart from Moscow to Ukraine. We have been making efforts for this moment to take place for so long!" the president wrote.
As reported, since the beginning of the Russian aggression against Ukraine, the Kremlin has captured several Ukrainian citizens hostages. Exact number of Ukrainian prisoners of the Kremlin is not known. At the moment, officials say, about 20 Ukrainians are kept political prisoners in Russian jails or pre-trial facilities, including in the territory of occupied Crimea. The story of Ukrainian pilot Nadiia Savchenko, who had been kidnapped, tried, sentenced, and released, is the most well-known case.
Hennadii Afanasiev and Yurii Soloshenko are among Ukrainian political prisoners still held by the Kremlin. Afanasiev was sentenced in Russia on politically motivated 'case of Sentsov-Kolchenko' to seven years in colony. The case is a criminal proceeding against Ukrainian director Oleh Sentsov,sentenced to 20 years in colony for an alleged organization of a terrorist group in occupied Crimea. Afanasiev testified against other defendants, but later withdrew his testimony and announced tortures during interrogations.
Yurii Soloshenko has been sentenced in Russia to six years in colony for espionage. When in prison, he was diagnosed with cancer.
After Nadiia Savchenko was released from captivity, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced of agreements to return Afanasiev and Soloshenko to Ukraine. He then said it could happen in June. It became known later that political prisoners Afanasiev and Soloshenko filed petitions for mercy to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
SBU Head Vasyl Hrytsak announced that the Security Service of Ukraine was preparing for the swap.
Related materials: Ukrainian hostages in Russia