Today we learned that RIA Novosti Kyiv office's chief charged with treason, Kirill Vyshinsky, will remain behind bars until his further fate is decided in court on Friday, July 19. Meanwhile, Russian information platforms, in particular, certain Telegrams channels posing as Ukrainian, spin reports aimed to spark public outrage (something Ukrainians have long branded "zrada", or "treason"), claiming that today our government has once again committed a crime in respect of our POW sailors!
A narrative is being imposed on Ukrainians that, had Vyshinsky been released today, the aggressor state would have sentenced all sailors who were unarmed on board naval vessels Russia attacked and seized near the Kerch Strait Nov 25, 2018 (mechanics, a pilot and some others) on the lightest possible charges, that is, the illegal border crossing, and released them as early as this Thursday. And since this didn't happen, then, literally (here it comes!): "Poroshenko's fat cronies never cared about those kids, but Volodymyr Zelensky just couldn't do it."
Yeah, grab those flares, flat tires, and rush to the Maidan, right?! Or, maybe we should just see what's really going on here without undue panic and anxiety.
First of all, I'd like to note that I'm seeing more and more links of a single chain in the latest multi-faceted game the Kremlin has been playing, starting from Nadiia Savchenko (the Constitutional Court’s ruling) to Russian journalist Aleksei Venediktov, who recently visited Ukraine not so much to hand to Mr Zelensky a letter of the detainee's mother, but rather to pass new instructions to Vyshinsky. Namely, it's about changing the tactics: "You once again say you're a citizen of Ukraine. It is from this standpoint that the defense intends to ask the court to change the measure of restraint to personal recognizance, which will actually allow Vyshinsky fleeing Ukraine.
During the meeting with Vyshinsky passed the instructions to keep his mouth shut and not repeat some stupid initiatives like claiming that he is a Russian citizen. Moscow needs their Kirill guy, and he can even be considered their trump card in the Ukrainian trial if he's "Ukrainian citizen".
Thus, Venediktov's visit served the PR purposes, to demonstrate how Russian journalists with "clean reputation" (which is already a paradox) care about their colleague, who is being accused of something more than stealing cigs from a gas station (the charges are "high treason", I must recall), and the evidence base is colossal. On the other hand, valuable instructions were passed to Vyshinsky, including the one to make no sharp movements in order not to spark chaos in the implementation of Moscow's plans.
At the same time, the defense team for Mr Vyshinsky (who is now a Ukrainian citizen, remember?) will insist on having him released from custody and changing the measure of restraint to personal recognizance.
And now let's move on to Nadiia Savchenko. Earlier, the Constitutional Court granted Savchenko's complaint and found the norm obliging courts to remand in custody suspects in crimes against the state and society in breach of Part 5 Art 176 of the Constitution. Thus, from June 25, potential terrorists and their accomplices, state traitors and spies, those who are suspected of crimes against the territorial integrity of Ukraine and constitutional order are able to avoid being held in detention facilities pending trial and instead face house arrest, be bailed out or released on personal recognizance.
That is, had a court hearing been held today, Kirill Vyshinsky could have been released and nothing would have prevented him not only from continuing his anti-Ukrainian activities, but also from fleeing Ukraine.
For example, Volodymyr Ruban (former prisoner exchange negotiator who has been charged with terrorism and is being tried along with Savchenko) was recently released from custody due to the said ruling of the Constitutional Court, and nothing appeared to prevent him from sneaking out to Poland. So what would stop Vyshinsky from leaving Ukraine and never coming back?
Thus, it's no longer about a direct swap, it's about the fulfillment by Russia of the international tribunal award and the release of the Ukrainian sailors without any reservations.
But in this situation, the Kremlin needs to get its profit, primarily in terms of propaganda. While the sailors are likely to be returned to their Homeland before Ukraine's Election Day July 21 (something that both sides suggest will happen) it will be Mr Medvedchuk who will get a lion's share of fame in this regard, as I wrote earlier today.
They'll say it's not the implementation of the tribunal award and the pressure on the part of the West, but precisely the "peacemaker" Medvedchuk, who "begged on his knees to let free the sailors and did everything to return them," unlike the former and today's Ukrainian leaders, who prompted the Kremlin to go for concessions to Ukraine.
So, I'll say one hell of a spectacle we are yet to observe. The Kremlin is keen on making a show, playing with people's fates, especially when Moscow needs to add some points to its "project" ahead of elections and at the same time undermine the electoral support of Medvedchuk's opponents.
In addition, if our POW sailors will "thanks to" Medvedchuk fly home, say, on Friday night or Saturday morning, this will ensure that his name and is "feats" will star in a huge number of news reports on the "day of silence" right before the day Ukrainians will cast votes.