A lucky few dozen Here are the prisoners Moscow and Kyiv traded over the weekend
On September 7, Russia and Ukraine each traded 35 prisoners. Two planes simultaneously landed in Moscow and Kyiv, freeing dozens of criminal suspects and convicts, among whom were Crimea filmmaker Oleg Sentsov and Russian state journalist Kirill Vyshinsky. Meduza runs down the list of exchanged prisoners.
Released by Russia
(According to the list published on the Ukrainian President’s website)
- Oleg Sentsov: 43 years old. Born in Simferopol. Film director. In May 2014, Russian federal agents arrested him in Crimea, and the next year he was sentenced to 20 years in prison for allegedly plotting terrorist attacks. Sentsov maintains his innocence and said he was tortured in prison. His case provoked international outrage.
- Olexandr Kolchenko: 29 years old. Born in Simferopol. Anti-fascist and social activist. He carried out activist work in Crimea in memory of Anastasia Baburova (an investigative journalist who was killed in 2009). Russian officials arrested Kolchenko in Simferopol in May 2014, at the same time as Oleg Sentsov, and in August 2015 he was sentenced to 10 years in a maximum-security prison, also for terrorism. He, too, maintains his innocence.
- Volodymyr Balukh: 48 years old. Born in Syerabranka, Crimea. Farmer and social activist. In December 2016, Russian federal agents arrested him in Crimea for illegal possession and carrying of firearms and ammunition. In August 2017, he was sentenced to three years and seventh months in a maximum-security prison.
- Mykola Karpyuk: 55 years old. Born in Velykyi Zhytyn, Ukraine. Social and political activist, a former deputy of the UNA-UNSO party, and a member of the central council of the “Right Sector” party, which is banned in Russia. In March 2014, he was arrested while entering Russia, and later sentenced to 20 years and six months for allegedly taking up arms against the Russian state in the first Chechen War. (Karpyuk denies this and claims that he was tortured during the investigation.)
- Stanislav Klih: 45 years old. Born in Kyiv. Instructor at the Kyiv Transport-Economic College. Along with Karpyuk, Klih was sentenced to 20 years in a maximum-security prison for alleged homicide and membership in an armed group.
- Pavlo Hryb: 21 years old. Student. In 2017, he traveled to Gomel, Belarus, to meet a girl he’d discovered online. In Belarus, unknown persons apprehended him and secretly brought him to Russia, where he was charged with terorism (according to Russian security services, Hryb was responsible for an explosion at a school in Sochi). In March 2019, a Rostov court sentenced him to six years in prison. He maintains his innocence.
- Roman Sushchenko: 50 years old. Born in Mykolaiv. Journalist. Correspondent for the Ukrainian news agency Ukrinform. In September 2016, special forces arrested him when he tried to enter Russia. He was later charged with spying for Ukraine, following claims by the FSB that he belonged to Ukrainian military intelligence (denied by Kyiv and Sushchenko). In June 2019, he was sentenced to 12 years in a maximum-security prison.
- Oleksiy Sizonovich: 63 years old. Born in the Kyiv region. Retired. Since September 2016, he’s been Russian custody on charges of planning a terrorist attack and illegally crossing the Russian border. He was sentenced to 12 years in a maximum-security prison.
- Edem Bekirov: 58 years old. Born in the Kherson region. Activist in the Crimean-Tatar national movement. He was arrested in December 2018 when entering Crimea, and charged with illegal possession of ammunition and bomb-making. In August 2019, he was released on his own recognizance.
- Artur Panov: 21 years old. Born in Sorokyne, in Ukraine’s Luhansk region. Euromaidan activist, journalist, and blogger. In December 2015, when Panov was 17 years old, he was jailed in Rostov under controversial circumstances. Russian investigators maintain that Panov himself came to Russia, where he was planning a terrorist attack, while Ukrainian officials say he was abducted on Ukrainian soil and transferred to Russia. He was charged under a range of Russian terrorism statutes and in August 2017 he was sentenced to 8 years in a maximum-secturiy prison.
- Evgeny Panov. Arrested by the FSB in Crimea in August 2016. According to Russian officials, Panov belongs to the Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s General Directorate of Intelligence, and was preparing an attack against infrastructure facilities in Crimea. He maintains his innocence, and in July 2018 he was sentenced to eight years in a maximum-security colony.
- Ukraine's sailors: 24 sailors from the “Berdyansk” and “Nikopol” artillery boats, and the “Yany Kapy” tugboat, captured by Russia’s Coast Guard near the Kerch Strait in November 2018.
Released by Ukraine
(The Kremlin has declined to publish a full list of all prisoners released to Moscow)
- Kirill Vyshinsky: 52 years old. Born in Dnipro. Journalist, former head of RIA Novosti Ukraine (not officially associated with the successor to the RIA Novosti news agency, “Rossiya Segodnya”). Vyshinsky has dual Russian and Ukrainian citizenship, following a 2015 presidential order by Vladimir Putin in 2015. In May 2018, Ukrainian security officials arrested Vyshinsky on charges of treason. The Russian state media devoted great attention to his case, which multiple international organizations condemned.
- Vladimir Tsemakh: Ukrainian citizen. Former commander in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR). In July 2019, he was apprehended by Ukrainian special services and brought to Kyiv. Experts claim that Tsemakh commanded an anti-air unit in the city of Snizhne on July 17, 2014, when Malyasian Air Flight 17 was shot down over DNR territory. The Dutch prosecutor’s office objected to Tsemakh’s release, arguing that he could be a “key witness” in its investigation into MH17, though detectives were allowed to question Tsemakh briefly, before he was traded to Moscow.
- Alexander Baranov and Maxim Odintsov: Former Ukrainian soldiers who joined the Russian army and switched their citizenship. Ukrainian intelligence officers arrested them in November 2016. The two men were later convicted of desertion, and sentenced to 13 and 14 years in prison, respectively.
- Evgeny Mefedov: Russian citizen. He was a participant in the events of May 2, 2014, in Odesa, when clashes surrounding a pro-Russian demonstration resulted in a deadly fire at the city’s trade union building. Mefedov was arrested on charges of organizing mass unrest, and was later also accused of attempting to overthrow Ukraine’s Constitution, seize power, and undermine Ukraine’s territorial integrity. In August 2019, he was released on bail, along with another individual involved in the May 2 events, Sergey Dolzhenkov.
- Igor Kimakovsky: 45 years old. A native of Makiivka, in the Donetsk region, a Russian citizen, and a resident of St. Petersburg since 1990. Head of the Center of Informational Technology of the St. Petersburg Agrarian University. In 2015, he went to the DNR as a volunteer, and in June of that year he accidentally drove to a Ukrainian checkpoint where he was arrested. Kimakosky was charged under various statutes of the Ukrainian criminal code, including aiding and abetting terrorism, undermining Ukraine’s territorial integrity, and illegally crossing the border.
- Alexander Rakushkin: Reserve officer in the Ukrainian military who was suspected of working for the FSB. He was arrested by the Ukrainian Security Service in June 2019, and in late August he was released on his own recognizance.
- Alena Bobova, Valery Pikalov, Denis Khitrov, and Petr Melnichuk: Ukrainian citizens from Odesa (except for Melnichuk, who is from Moldova), accused of treason and espionage on behalf of Russia.
- Viktor Ageyev: 24 years old, Russian citizen. He was a combatant for the self-declared Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR), and was captured by Ukrainian forces in June 2017. Ageyev was later charged with illegal possession of a firearm and participation in a terrorist organization, and in January 2018 he was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
- Alexey Sedikov: Russian citizen. Combatant for the self-declared LNR. Captured by Ukrainian forces in July 2016, and sentenced in 2017 to 11 years in prison.
- Stanislav Yezhov: Ukrainian citizen. Arrested in December 2017 and accused of espionage.
- Yulia Prosolova: Ukrainian citizen. She was accused of blowing up the car of SBU colonel Olexandr Kharaberush. In September 2018, she was sentenced to 12 years in prison.
- Alexander Valekhidis: A native of Lviv, and a Russian citizen. Arrested in July 2014 in Lviv. He was accused of spying for Russia and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
- Vladimir Galichiy: 78 years old, Ukrainian citizen. Former deputy on Sevastopol’s City Council. In March 2014, he voted in favor of Crimea joining Russia. He was detained in September 2015 on the way to Crimea by Ukrainian border guards and accused of treason.
- Andrey Vaskovskiy: Ukrainian citizen, former SBU employee, arrested in August 2018. According to Ukrainian investigators, he was a double agent working for the Russian security services.
- Sergey Ignatyev: Ukrainian citizen, volunteer combatant for the LNR. The exact date and circumstances around his arrest are unclear, but known reports say Ignatyev was captured in an attempted attack on a member of the Ukrainian right-wing Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists. In August 2019, he was released by a court for the exchange with Russia.
- Arkadiy Zhidkikh: Russian citizen. According to Ukraine, he was a combatant in the “Vostok” battalion under the command of Alexander Khodakovsky. In February 2016, he was sentenced to eight years in prison for fighting in an illegal armed group.
- Sergey Yegorov: Russian citizen. He fought in the DNR “Oplot” battalion, and was captured by Ukrainian forces in the spring of 2017.
- Olga Kovalis and Pavel Chernykh: Russian citizens, married. They were arrested by the SBU in April 2015 in Mariupol. Ukrainian investigators suspected them of aiding and abetting terrorist organizations.
- Dmitry Korenovskiy and Viktor Fedorov: Ukrainian Citizens. They were detained in June 2018 in Mykolaiv and accused of espionage.
- Yuri Lomako: Ukrainian citizen. Former captain, first rank, in the Ukrainian Navy. In December 2018, he was detained in Ochakiv and accused of treason. In May 2019, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five years in prison.
- Sergey Lazarev: Ukrainian citizen, colonel in the Ukrainian Air Force. He was arrested in 2017 and sentenced to four years in prison on charges of spying for Russia.
- Denis Sidorov: Russian citizen. Arrested in September 2016 by Ukrainian forces while crossing the demarcation line in the Horlivka region. He was also accused of planning a terrorist attack.
- Antonina Rodionova: Ukrainian citizen. Former employee at the Ukrainian National Guard headquarters. In January 2018, she was sentenced to four years in prison for spying for Russia.
Translation by Wesley Fox