Ukraine-Russia prisoner swap will be important step – Senator Murphy
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy has said he hopes that the expected mutual release of detainees between Ukraine and Russia will help free more Ukrainians in the future.
The U.S. politician said this at a briefing in Kyiv on September 5 following a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, according to an Ukrinform correspondent.
“We don’t generally comment on court decisions, but we are hopeful that after consultations between President Zelensky and [Russian President] Vladimir Putin, we may see an easing of tensions between Ukraine and Russia and, perhaps, the additional release of Ukrainians that are being held by the Russian authorities,” he said, when asked to comment on the release of Volodymyr Tsemakh, a witness in the MH17 case.
Murphy said that the mutual release of detainees could be an important signal that “relations between Ukraine and Russia can be different, going forward.”
“There will continue to be serious life and death issues to discuss, but this will be an important series of steps,” he added.
Senators Ronald Johnson and Chris Murphy arrived in Ukraine on September 5.
On September 5, Kyiv Court of Appeal changed a measure of restraint for former “air defense commander” of the town of Snizhne, a witness in the MH17 case, Volodymyr Tsemakh, from detention to personal recognizance.
In late June this year, Ukrainian special services detained Tsemakh in the territory of the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic.”
On June 28, Tsemakh was taken to Kyiv, and on June 29, Shevchenkivsky District Court ruled to arrest him for two months.
Tsemakh is suspected of committing a criminal offense provided for in Part 1 of Article 258-3 (the creation of a terrorist group or terrorist organization) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.
In an interview with a separatist media outlet, Tsemakh openly spoke about the crash of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing-777 and even confirmed that a missile had been launched from a Buk air defense missile system.
According to some media reports, Tsemakh is among those whom Russia wants to see in the prisoner swap list with Ukraine.
Dutch investigators declared their desire to question Tsemakh as a witness in the MH17 hearing in The Hague.