Translated by Ollie Richardson
Ukrainian prisons for political motives now contain more than 400 Russians whose guilt hasn’t been proved. This was said on Friday, December 15th, by the head of the Federation Council Defense and Security Committee Viktor Bondarev, reports RIA Novosti.
The former deputy of the Verkhovna Rada and former speaker of parliament of Novorossiya Oleg Tsarev on the air of NSN said that to the attitude towards Russian prisoners in Ukraine after the events on Maidan was negative, but now it is changing for the better.
“Many prisoners fell under the influence of the propaganda in Ukraine. Despite the fact that according to norms and rules the people who are in prison shouldn’t watch TV or listen to radio, it is allowed. According to the latest data, the mood in Ukrainian prisons changes. The attitude towards the Ukrainian authorities and to president Poroshenko is changing,” noted the politician.
Tsarev hoped that some Russian prisoners will be released during an exchange of prisoners with Donbass.
“There will be an exchange now and it will concern both the people detained in connection with the standoff with Donbass and under other political articles. Work that is carried out by Viktor Medvedchuk (the special representative of Ukraine on humanitarian issues), brought only minor progress so far. I hope that the big exchange that will happen will take place successfully. I know that some actions in this direction are carried out by the Ukrainian side, the courts release people, bring them to Kharkov, and prepare for an exchange,” said the politician.
However, according to Tsarev, this is only a small part of the people who are now in the Ukrainian prisons.
“Now it is difficult to say precisely how many people are under political articles, both Russians and Ukrainians – condemned in Ukrainian prisons. A few years ago, according to my sources, the detainees were several thousands of people, I didn’t distinguish between Russians and Ukrainians. In many instances people were given criminal articles – planted weapons, falsified data. There are a lot of people who were condemned for posts on social networks. The leaders for arrests are the Kharkov and Odessa regions,” he reported.
Earlier the head of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry Pavel Klimkin said that an exchange of prisoners can take place in Donbass in the next few weeks. He hoped that the exchange will involve “the largest number of Ukrainian soldiers”.
On Thursday, December 14th, during a big press conference the Russian President Vladimir Putin urged the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko to carry out an exchange of prisoners with Donbass before New Year.
In the middle of November of this year Viktor Medvechuk appealed to Putin to assist in carrying out an exchange. He said that Ukraine is ready to release 306 people before the New Year’s holidays, and counted 74 people for release by Donetsk and Lugansk.
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