In particular, Poroshenko noted that the release of Afanasiev and Soloshenko was made possible due to the Minsk agreements among other things. The president pledged that Ukraine will make every effort to return the rest of Ukrainian hostages.
Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin pardoned Ukrainian nationals Hennadii Afanasiev and Yurii Soloshenko illegally detained and convicted in Russia.
As reported, since the beginning of the Russian aggression against Ukraine, the Kremlin has taken several Ukrainian citizens hostages. The exact number of Ukrainian prisoners of the Kremlin is unknown. 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, proved to be the most high-profile case.
Hennadii Afanasiev and Yurii Soloshenko were among those Ukrainians held by the Kremlin. Afanasiev was sentenced in Russia on politically motivated 'case of Sentsov-Kolchenko' to seven years in colony. The case is criminal proceedings 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 claimed 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.
June 14, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko announced liberation of Ukrainians Hennadii Afanasiev and Yurii Soloshenko held in Russia.