Over 60 Russians, Ukrainians now in custody may be swapped before end of Aug
More than 60 Russian and Ukrainian citizens currently in custody could return to their home countries before the end of August, possibly including all Ukrainian sailors detained in the Kerch Strait in November 2018; however, Ukrainian film director Oleh Sentsov is not on this list, while RIA Novosti Ukraine Editor-in-Chief Kirill Vyshinsky himself has refused to be swapped, the newspaper Kommersant said on Friday, citing informed sources.
"The authorities of the Russian Federation and Ukraine have stepped up the prisoner exchange process. Informed sources have told the newspaper that more than 60 Russians and Ukrainians currently in custody could return to their home countries before the end of this month. The information available to the newspaper indicates that this number may include all Ukrainian sailors who were detained in the Kerch Strait in November last year," it said.
The newspaper's sources also said that it would be a 33/33 exchange between Moscow and Kyiv, but there were no plans to swap Sentsov, who was given a 20-year prison sentence in Russia in 2015 for terrorism. He is not on the list, Kommersant said.
"As regards RIA Novosti Ukraine Editor-in-Chief Kirill Vyshinsky, he himself has refused to participate in such an exchange. The journalist, who has been charged by the Ukrainian authorities with high treason, is going to seek his acquittal and release," the newspaper said.
However, a date for the swap still remains unknown, but it is likely to take place before the end of August, Kommersant said. In turn, the newspaper's sources familiar with the prisoner swap talks have confirmed the existence of a tentative agreement on this matter.