Location Ukraine Ukraine

A big exchange of prisoners of war takes part in Ukraine

Today in Donbas region Kiev regime and self-proclaimed peoples republics of Donbas exchanged their war and political prisoners. The event was announced a week before. Higher officials of Kiev regime, Russia, Red Cross and Orthodox Church were involved to preparing actions.  Journalists published information 306 men from Kiev and 74 from Donbas side would be included to the list.

Two facts are most important. Firstly Kiev, as it usually happens, broke its word in last minute. Only 237 men were given to Donbas authorities. There are different explanations where 69 others were lost. In the same time Donbas republics kept their word.

According to the Ukrainian ombudsman Valeria Lutkovska, some of the people before the exchange were suddenly released and no longer needed any exchange, and the other part simply refused to exchange already during its conduct. So, 43 people served their sentence and were released from custody, so they did not come to the exchange. Another 10-15 people came to the exchange, but refused to go to the territory beyond Kiev’s control. In addition, Vice Speaker Irina Gerashchenko said yesterday that the citizens of Russia, previously included in the lists, suddenly refused to exchange on December 27 in the morning. There were 8 people.
The lawyers of the Russian citizens immediately accused Gerashchenko of lying. They argue that the Russians were crossed out from the list at the last moment by the Kiev authorities, despite the desire of the Russian Federation citizens to leave for the Donbas. In particular, lawyers Yelena Berezhna and Tatyana Montian state this. According to some information, the citizens of Russia were struck off the lists on the personal instructions from Gerashchenko.

Secondly it was internal exchange of political prisoners, prisoners of war played secondary role. As blogger D. Kovalevich notes 74 Ukrainian citizens captured by DPR/LPR were exchanged for 237 Ukrainian citizens captured/arrested by Kiev side. Most of those 237 have nothing to do with Donbas but were arrested in other regions of Ukraine on political reasons, but included into the list of exchange. Among them, some Odessa residents arrested for alleged assassination on MP Goncharenko (as secret police explained it was provocation), some Ukrainian opposition journalists, some authors of the critical posts in social network – they were exchanged for Kiev soldiers and had to move to Donetsk without opportunity to ever get home. But at least – free. Now even formally the critics in media become POWs. Moreover, Kiev de facto is interested in arresting as more as possible Ukrainian oppositionists and dissidents to expel them this way. In other words, they exchange citizens of Ukraine for citizens of Ukraine, but Kiev authorities get mad when someone calls it civil war.

Among released people there are two Odessa residents Anatoly Slobodyanik and Alexandr Kushnaryov, numerous international campaigns were organized for their support, but calls for freedom were fruitless. Now they became free but can’t live in their native city.

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