Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko who is serving his sentence in the US has cheered up after three meetings with his family and is making plans for the future, his wife Viktoria told TASS after she and her daughter visited her husband in the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Connecticut.
"I believe the joy of the fact that we have arrived gives him strength. He stopped complaining," she stressed. "He is optimistic once again, that’s for sure. During the conversation, he hopes for the best and dreams about what he will do in the future, keeps saying how we will live. I like the current state of his mind."
"I don’t know yet how feasible his plans are, time will show what will happen next," Viktoria Yaroshenko went on to say. She hopes to discuss further steps and actions with Russian diplomats in New York. "I am interested to know, above all, about our prospects and where else we can turn to. These [Russian diplomats] are the only people who can give me a clear answer now," she said, adding that she understands how difficult it is to arrange a meeting in New York with US officials, considering the current state of Russian-US relations.
Switching to local time
Yaroshenko’s wife lamented that she had been unable to switch to the local time almost a week after her arrival in the US. "That’s why I get enough sleep and feel cheerful when I get up in the morning, but by the time we reach [Danbury], I start to fall asleep and feel like a zombie for six hours," she explained, adding that the time allocated for meetings with her husband in the prison coincides with these six hours.
"Konstantin understands everything and laughs at me when I begin to fall asleep, but that doesn’t matter. The most important thing that we are can meet each other. It is a pity I cannot sit next to him, put my head on his shoulder and get some sleep," she said.
According to Viktoria, her daughter Yekaterina has adapted herself almost immediately and actively communicates with her father. "My daughter says she would be ready to cross the ocean on foot for the sake of her father’s smile and [upbeat] mood," she added.
Russian diplomats asked for 12 meetings between Yaroshenko and his family. The next, fourth, meeting will be held on Monday. The Russian pilot’s first meeting with his wife and daughter in seven years took place on August 24.
Yaroshenko was arrested in Liberia in May 2010, and was later clandestinely transferred to the United States. In September 2011, he was found guilty of conspiring to smuggle a major cocaine shipment into the US, and sentenced to 20 years behind bars. However, Yaroshenko pleaded not guilty, saying that his arrest was a setup and the case was fabricated.
Until recently, Yaroshenko had been serving out his sentence at the Fort Dix Federal Correctional Institution, but in mid-June he was first transferred to a transit prison in Brooklyn, New York, and then to the current Danbury prison, which holds more than 1,400 inmates. Russian officials and the pilot’s family have repeatedly requested Washington to transfer him to Russia.