The 35 for 35 prisoner swap between Ukraine and Russia once again revealed the two-faced stance of the so-called ‘Civilized World’ towards the MH17 tragedy in eastern Ukraine. Ahead of the prisoner swap, the Netherlands urged Ukraine to not hand over Vladimir Tsemakh to Russia. By this move, the Netherlands admitted that it is not a neutral side and is not interested in an objective investigation of the MH17 tragedy. The Dutch side had a lot of time to question the supposed witness. However, this was not enough and it wanted the person to remain in Ukraine, where Tsemakh would be subjected to constant physical and psychological pressure. The Dutch government, which is allegedly a neutral side in the MH17 case, is de facto impeding the objective investigation of the tragedy.
We appreciate the prisoner exchange between Russia and Ukraine, but there are some issues. The Ukrainian sailors, who are war criminals, were kindly released by Russia, but have officially confirmed that are ready to go through the Kerch Strait again. It was an aggressive violation of Russian borders.
This is a part of recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation on the Kerch incident. On 25 November 2018 border patrol boats belonging to Russia’s FSB security service seized two small Ukrainian armoured artillery vessels and their crews after shooting at them, wounding several Ukrainian servicemen and arresting 24 members. Russia argued that they were in Russian waters. However, a bilateral treaty between Russia and Ukraine, signed in 2003 and ratified by Russia in 2004, governs the use of the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov, which in the treaty is considered to be the “internal waters” of both Russia and Ukraine. On 25 May 2019, the United Nations Tribunal for the Law of the Sea ordered Russia to immediately release Ukrainian sailors and allow them to return to Ukraine. The EU urged Russia to release the captured crew.
Twenty-four military sailors returned to Ukraine on 7 September as part of a mutual release of detainees by Ukraine and Russia.