Ukraine’s Interior Ministry released a video of the two servicemen, one of whom claims he was part of the 3rd Special Purpose Brigade and was wounded while engaged in a spy mission. Valentyn Nalivaychenko, head of Ukraine’s Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) said: “They will be prosecuted for “terrorist activity and terrorist crimes.”
In response to their capture and Kiev’s release of the video, Russian Embassy officials in Kiev requested the right to visit the men to “(provide) necessary help in accordance with the norms of international law.”
In a TASS press release, Russian Defense Ministry officials said the “two prisoners had served in the Russian armed forces but were no longer Russian soldiers on May 17, the day they were captured.” Russia continues to deny the presence of its military forces in the Donbass region and insists Ukraine is in violation of the negotiated truce.
While it is entirely understandable for Russia to avoid advertising its work in Ukraine, with this latest twist it is hardly judicious to deny the existence of Russian troops in Ukraine any longer.
Prior to last week, the presence of Russian troops in Ukraine was largely based on supposition; however, the apprehension of the two men, their admissions of service and the detailed confessions they offered reflect the empty, confused and directionless stance Moscow has assumed in Ukraine.
Vladimir Putin ginned up violence in Ukraine to alert the world to Russia’s security concerns; nevertheless, the implausible claim the two captives were no longer in the service of Russia’s military serves no purpose but make fools of Russia’s leaders attempting to warrant the unjustifiable act of violating the cease-fire and defying the Minsk Accords.
Ramping up criticism of Kiev will backfire: Putin’s dogged resistance to admit the Kremlin’s exposed role and violations to the cease-fire in face of the abundance of evidence is becoming a parody.
[Reuters] [Sky News] [Censor.net]