Prisoner exchange: the real cost
After the December 9 Normandy summit in Paris, the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC), together with millions of Ukrainians around the world, continues to follow the implementation of its key resolutions. The agreement as announced by President Zelenskyy to an ‘all for all’ prisoner exchange between Ukraine and Russia was one of the most anticipated immediate steps. While the UWC welcomes the return of 76 Ukrainian political and military prisoners to their families, the global Ukrainian community shares the deep concern of Ukraine’s civil society about the actual cost of this exchange and its future implications.
These concerns relate to the exchange by Ukraine of suspects accused of torturing and killing peaceful protestors during Ukraine’s Revolution of Dignity in 2014. This demand by Russia further demonstrates its direct involvement in the crimes committed against the 2014 peaceful demonstrations in Ukraine, which they continue to deny. This is another glaring example of the hybrid war Russia wages against Ukraine.
The UWC once again calls on the international community to declare Russia as an aggressor state, and maintain pressure and sanctions to prevent further hostage taking and ensure effective implementation of the Normandy summit resolutions. With its demand for the exchange of these security forces, Russia can no longer deny its responsibility for the atrocities committed during Ukraine’s Revolution of Dignity, nor its control over proxies and mercenaries of the so-called LNR and DNR.
The UWC calls on the President and Government of Ukraine to uphold the rule of law and remain committed to the independence and integrity of the judicial system in Ukraine. The global Ukrainian community stands with the citizens of Ukraine in demanding that justice is finally brought upon those responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed against the Ukrainian people. We must honour the sacrifices and protect the values of the Revolution of Dignity.
“The Ukrainian World Congress, and the global Ukrainian community, stood shoulder to shoulder with the people of Ukraine in 2014 during the Revolution of Dignity and continue to support Ukraine as its people bravely defend their homes and families against Russia’s continued military aggression. The world needs to be reminded that brave Ukrainian men and women continue to die and be wounded almost on a daily basis by Russian-controlled forces. We urge the international community to support Ukraine in the face of continued Russian hybrid aggression which takes many shapes and forms. Implementation of the Normandy resolutions is necessary for peace in Ukraine, but it must be fair and not at all costs,” – stated Paul Grod, UWC President.