Moscow Reportedly Floats Idea to Sideline Ukraine in Talks about Release of Sentsov
September 30 – Compounding the viciousness which has driven its Ukrainian
prisoner Oleg Sentsov to go on hunger strike for 140 days, Moscow reportedly
has floated a plan to release him that would sideline Ukraine from such talks
and reinforce the Russian claim that the conflict in Ukraine is between Russia
and the United States.
of the three Russians held by the US has anything to do with the Ukrainian
conflict. But is being held as a illegal trafficker of weapons, Yaroshenko is
in prison for drug smuggling, and Butina is being held on charges of illegally
being involved in seeking to subvert US elections.
According to his
source, Kanygin continues, “Moscow is prepared to discuss such ‘a humanitarian
action’ directly with Washington under the condition that Ukraine formally will
not be a party to the talks. The journalist adds that a Russian foreign
ministry spokesperson says she has no knowledge of such discussions.
has pursued a similar tactic in the past. In 2017, it exchanged two Crimean
Tatars with Turkey for two Russians accused of spies, Ukrainian human rights
activist Mikhail Chaplyga says, thus making the Novaya gazeta story entirely plausible, however demeaning it is to
such exchange in the Sentsov case would be doubly unfortunate however welcome
his release from prison would be. On the one hand, it would sideline Ukraine,
the country most directly involved, from the resolution of his fate, thus
playing into Moscow’s false narrative of what is occurring in that country.
the other, it would equate in the minds of many the actions of the entirely
politicized Russian court system that put Sentsov and many others in jail on the
basis of trumped up charges and faked evidence with the decisions of US courts
where the rule of law is ensured not only by national traditions but by intense
must be freed, but Ukraine must not be sidelined and US justice must not be
demeaned in the process.