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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Russia gives asylum to Ukrainian citizens, accused of “separatism”

Two citizens of Ukraine, the Odessa journalists chose to leave their country and go to Russia in the framework of the next exchange that took place between the two countries. They were arrested in Odessa for clearly political reasons – “it is hunting for the so-called separatists,” says one of the now released. Two citizens of Ukraine returned to Kyiv.

A plane with Ukrainian citizens Yuri Soloshenko and Gennady Afanasiev, pardoned by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, in the afternoon, landed at Kiev Boryspil airport. From there they were taken to the hospital, where he arrived the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko.

“A lot of people possessing the citizenship of Ukraine, got there in the dungeons for his sincere love and the struggle for Russia, the interests of Donbass. All briefly it can be characterized by the struggle for the Russian world”

Recall that Afanasyev was arrested by the FSB of Russia in Simferopol in the case of “Crimean terrorists” in may 2014. He was sentenced to seven years in strict regime colony. Case Soloshenko was marked “classified”. According to media reports, he was going on a truck to export to Ukraine part of some Russian weapons. He was detained in Moscow at a meeting with “business partner”. The court sentenced 73-year-old Soloshenko to six years in strict regime colony.

Another person involved in this case, the Director Oleg Sentsov, was sentenced to 20 years in prison on charges of organizing terrorist acts in the Crimea. Ten years in prison got his alleged accomplice Alexander Kolchenko.

In response to the release Soloshenko and Afanasiev Ukraine released Russia of the Odessa journalists, citizens of Ukraine Elena Lisinskog (together with their child needed emergency medical care) and Vitaliy Didenko (was pardoned Poroshenko). They arrived to Moscow flight STC “Russia”. Sliwinska was a long time in the Odessa jail, and Didenko – in the colony in Rivne region.

Press Secretary of the President of Russia Dmitry Peskov in conversation with TASS explained that the decision to take Slishinsky and Didenko was dictated by considerations of humanity. “The basis of this decision was humanitarian considerations,” – said Peskov.

Soloshenko and Afanasiev did not hide the joy that returned home (photo: Mikhail palinchak/press service of President of Ukraine/TASS)

Didenko, the editor – in-chief of the website “InfoCenter”. A Ukrainian court sentenced him to three years of restriction of freedom. Sliwinska headed a broadcasting company “New wave”. She was arrested by the SBU in April last year. A month and a half ago in jail she gave birth to a son.

Both journalists were accused of involvement in the organization “national Council of Bessarabia”, which, according to law enforcement bodies of Ukraine, created the conditions for a rejection of the southern districts of Odessa region.

Sliwinska, who came to Russia with a two-month child said that the baby now needs treatment. According to her, during her incarceration she often was not allowed to see the child. The journalist noted that her two older children, 18 and 10 years – were in Odessa with her parents. “I would never leave neither children nor Ukraine, but put me in such conditions that I had to choose: either I remain in prison for many years or leave the country,” she explained.

As RIA “Novosti”, Sliwinska and Didenko believe that was convicted for political reasons, because the current government of Ukraine does not accept an alternative point of view on what is happening in the country. “Of course, Yes, this is a purely political matter, is hunting for the so-called separatists – said Sliwinska. Under this wave came all the activists and social activists, historians and journalists.”

Sliwinska said that they were arrested as activists of the movement “people’s Parliament of Bessarabia.” “It’s a national-cultural movement, not connected with politics, but the government felt that it was not consistent with the General political line,” she said, adding that they were accused of separatism and attempts to divide Ukraine into parts, but “it has nothing to do with reality”.

According to Didenko, they just adhered to the “alternative lines on certain social and political processes”. “Apparently, the authorities didn’t like it,” – says the journalist.

However, the adviser to the head of the security Service of Ukraine Yuriy Tandit, commenting on the exchange, said: “In the framework of agreements at the highest level was implemented formula two by two.” “Those two people, which gave the Ukraine, they have a direct relationship to the events in Odessa, while we do not comment on the conditions of the liberation of our guys,” said Tandem in an interview with Ukrainian media.

A mediator for the release of Pisinski and Didenko became the special representative of the President of Ukraine in the tripartite contact group Viktor Medvedchuk. Earlier he participated in the organization of exchange of pilots Hope Savchenko (has already said that he wants to meet with Afanasyev and Soloshenko, drink with them vodka, to talk about how we have hurt”) on the Russians and Erofeeva Alexandrov. Press Secretary Medvedchuk, Oleg Bulavin in conversation with “Kommersant” said that from the Russian side “was of interest” to Pisinski and Didenko, and, “of course, the release of this woman is a humanitarian action”.

A member of the presidential Council for interethnic relations, the political analyst Bogdan Bezpalko believes that what is happening is partly consistent with the expectations of the Ukrainian political emigration, that is people who were forced to flee to Russia.

“Often reproached that Savchenko exchanged only for two people, and it should have been immediately exchanged for 10-15 prisoners, Eugene Nefedova and others… From my point of view, the exchange of positive. Moreover, these people are not the media icon, as Savchenko, and does not cause a violent reaction in our society,” said Bezpalko newspaper VIEW.

According to him, the criminals exchanged “anything useful brought – served as the material for the exchange.” The expert does not exclude that such exchanges can continue in the future. “A lot of people possessing the citizenship of Ukraine, got there in the dungeons for his sincere love and the struggle for Russia, the interests of Donbass. All briefly it can be characterized by the struggle for the Russian world. And I think that many of these people need to get,” he said, expressing concern, as Ukraine would have not started specifically to grab people hostage, what has already said in Parliament in order to exchange them for detainees in Russia representatives of the Ukrainian nationalist organizations, members of the UNA-UNSO*.

* Organization in respect of which the court accepted entered into legal force decision on liquidation or ban the activities on the grounds stipulated by the Federal law “On countering extremist activity”

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