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Poroshenko Says Hopes For Savchenko's Return To Ukraine Within 'Weeks'

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko talks to Nadia Savchenko by phone at the presidential office in Kyiv on April 19.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says he hopes jailed pilot Nadia Savchenko will return home from Russia as part of a prisoner swap "in a few weeks."

"We agreed a formula for resolving this problem. We agreed on its preliminary terms," he said in a televised interview late on April 24, speaking of his phone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin last week about exchanging Savchenko for Russian prisoners in Ukraine.

"And right now, I firmly hope that the presidential plane with my representatives will return Nadia to Ukraine in a few weeks. I think it will be a big day for me personally and for many Ukrainians."

There was no immediate response to Poroshenko's comments from Russia, where Savchenko is serving a 14-year prison sentence for involvement in the murder of Russia journalists -- charges that Savchenko denies and Western leaders have called trumped up.

Savchenko's Russian lawyer, Mark Feygin, wrote on Twitter on April 25 that he was skeptical that she will be released within a few weeks, however.

"Most probably, Savchenko will not be the end of May," he said.

Based on reporting by AFP, Interfax, and TASS