Moscow is expecting a United States reply to its request to allow Russian diplomats to visit pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko held at a U.S. jail, Russian Foreign Ministry's Commissioner for Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law Konstantin Dolgov said.
"We are waiting for the U.S. answer. The minister-counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow promised to promptly notify Washington (about Russia's request), today is the first business day after that, and we are hoping to receive the reply today," he told Interfax.
The Russian delegation visiting Yaroshenko is also expected to include representatives from the Russian Embassy in Washington and the Russian Consulate General in New York, the diplomat said.
Yaroshenko's situation is discussed at every meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, and at the last meeting of the foreign ministers in Montreux, Switzerland, the U.S. officials were informed about Yaroshenko's health issues, the Russian foreign minister said.
"After that he (Kerry) called me back, saying he checked everything (that was after my repeated reminders), and received no confirmation of Yaroshenko having any health issues," Lavrov said.
Furthermore, the U.S. side said Yaroshenko did not request any medical assistance at all, he added.
"That is not true. We are in daily contact with his lawyer, Mr. Tarasov. And Konstantin asked repeatedly for this help," the Russian foreign minister said.
Subsequently, the State Department suggested Russian diplomats contact Yaroshenko's prison administration directly, he said. "(The administration) said that medical aid (for inmates) is provided regularly but only on working days, and since Saturday was coming, we had to wait for Monday," Lavrov said.
Yaroshenko was arrested in Liberia on May 28, 2010 on the charge of preparing to smuggle a large haul of cocaine and was deported to the United States.
The Russian pilot was sentenced to 20 years in prison on September 7, 2011.
Russian representatives have claimed that international law has been violated in this case, reasoning that U.S. special services have captured a Russian citizen in a third country and brought him to the United States in secret.
On August 15, Dolgov told Interfax that the U.S. court's decision declining an appeal in the Yaroshenko case makes it possible to use the 1983 European Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons and that precedents of such cooperation between Russia and the United States already exist.