The release of Tsemakh and Putin’s statement of “large-scale POW exchange” pose danger for Ukraine

On September 5, the Kyiv Court of Appeals released Volodymyr Tsemakh, the former air defense commander of Snizhne town and a member of the terrorist organization Donetsk Peoples Republic (DPR) from custody. In addition to being accused of “setting up a terrorist group”, a charge that could land him a prison term from 8 to 15 years in Ukraine, Tsemakh is also currently a key suspect and the most valuable witness for the international tribunal in the case of of the MH17 flight crash.

According to journalists, the court hearing was held very quickly and none of the pertinent remarks by the prosecutor were taken into account. The stream video from the courtroom is available on Radio Liberty web site.

The hearing does not look like an act of justice, but rather like an execution of a political decision from the top of the power vertical. Investigators from the Netherlands have requested the Ukrainian authorities not to extradite Tsemakh, as he has to be questioned as a witness at the Hague hearings. In addition, a day before 40 members of the European Parliament called on the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky not to exchange Tsemakh. MEPs stressed that Tsemakh is considered an important witness in the MH17 investigation.

On the eve of June 28, Volodymyr Tsemakh was taken out of the occupied territory in a special operation of the Ukrainian security services and delivered to the court in Kyiv. The operation of detention and forcible evacuation of a DPR militant was carried out by the officers of the Security Service of Ukraine deep in the rear of the enemy, at a distance of about 80 km from the line of contact, with a considerable risk for their lives, health and freedom.

What the security services think about it. Officers’ unofficial opinion.

The editorial team of IN SIGHT, of the site of the international volunteer community InformNapalm, turned to the officers from different intelligence agencies and special purpose units in an effort to understand whether this situation was a “betrayal” or a “multimove game”.

All the contacted persons expressed similar views. All the officers were shocked by the court’s decision, whereas the speed at which it has been taken can only be explained by the fact that the president wants to demonstrate at any cost his ability to release the hostages held by Russia, therefore he makes unjustified concessions and rash steps.

In an effort to earn themselves the “glory of peacekeepers” and contrary to the requests from the international partners who supported Ukraine all these years, people in the positions of power in Ukraine are recklessly pushing Ukraine towards the abyss and opening the door to even greater Russian aggression, which will kill thousands more Ukrainians. The new wave of aggression will be swift, if the international support for Ukraine becomes weaker and sanctions are lifted. In addition, the release of the captured Ukrainian sailors will take place, not as part of international and maritime law enforcement, but as an “exchange” that is also beneficial to Putin.

Even now, the authorities are campaigning on social networks and in the media shaping the public opinion that what matters in t this situation is the exchange itself, rather than its political cost. The argument that Russia can grab new hostages at any time to again force Ukraine into more political concessions to the Kremlin is consistently downplayed. Moreover, thousands of Ukrainian people have already been killed in the war with Russia, and there is no way to have them back, but their memory will be betrayed by political concessions to Russia.

None of the experts interviewed believe that the actions to release Tsemakh are a “multimove game”. Everyone is shocked and predicts a further deterioration of the situation. They asked not to be be identified for obvious reasons.

Putin triumphantly announces large-scale exchange as aggression of the Russian Federation in Donbas intensifies.

BBC News also report that Russian President Vladimir Putin said today during a plenary session at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok that the exchange talks with Ukraine are close to “finalization” and the exchange will be massive.

We see the signs of the actions of the official Moscow and Kyiv being politically synchronized. However, a significant part of Ukrainian society perceives such steps as a blatant betrayal of Ukraine’s national interests and the fallen heroes of the war.

PeoplesProject volunteer site reported today that an enemy sniper killed a Ukrainian paramedic in Donbas. The war continues regardless of President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky declaring “zero” attacks by the invaders. In fact, the number of shelling attacks is steadily increasing, despite attempts to understate the scale of the war in official reports.

8 comments

  1. So let’s analyse just what happened. Zelensky by opening his big mouth in promising the return of these sailors, as part of his election campaign fell right into a trap. Once Putin’s evil mind got to work, Zelensky had no choice but to swap these prisoners. The qusetion now is what has he swapped? If the rumours are true about it being 33 for 33, Ukraine lost big time. The 24 sailors had to be released unconditionally, and not part of any swap. So basically Ukraine are swapping 33 Russians for 9 Ukrainians, most of which are in Russian prisons on trumped up charges anyway. It will be interesting to see the swap lists, if they ever get released.

  2. Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok has said the reports coming from Kyiv on the recent release from custody of Volodymyr Tsemakh, whom prosecutors in the Netherlands consider a suspect in the MH17 downing case, “raise many questions”. The top diplomat assured he is in “close contact with Ukrainian authorities” on the issue, according to dvhn.nl.

What is your opinion?