Bakanov: In negotiations for release of Ukrainians we showed that human life is invaluable
A blitz interview of Head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) Ivan Bakanov with Interfax-Ukraine
Q: Oleh Sentsov wrote a letter that he was not ready for release at any cost. Why did you still go for this exchange?
A: Look, I understand the position of citizen Oleh Sentsov. He is a hero. And it is such actions that bring up patriotism in our children. The position of the state of Ukraine is also clear: the highest value is a person, and once again a person. I emphasize that Ukraine as a state, first of all, is demonstrating to the world that it saves its citizens on the model of the strongest democracies in the world – the United States and Israel. Recall how the state of Israel acts in similar situations. In 2006, Israel released 1,035 fighters for the liberation of Corporal Gilad Shalit. After all, the life of a citizen is of great value.
Secondly, the decision was not spontaneous but well-considered by the president. Because Tsemakh's absence on the exchange list automatically foresaw the halt of negotiations with Russia. By the way, as well as the absence of a direct air corridor from Moscow.
Q: How do you assess the possible reaction of the Dutch side?
A: Let's not comment on the assumption. Again, we had no moral right in front of our citizens to delay the exchange process.
Q: Was Tsemakh questioned after his detention?
A: Of course, law enforcement officers have the opportunity to carry out all the necessary procedures. The materials are attached to the case. I have no right to share other information. I can only agree with the opinion of experts that Moscow's request to include Tsemakh in their lists is another confirmation of Russia's involvement in shooting down the MH17 aircraft. I can assure you that we will make every effort to punish those guilty.
Q: Was Viktor Medvedchuk involved in the exchange process?
A: No, all his trips to Russia were his own PR initiative.