The boys of Ukraine’s anti-Russian Aidar Battalion, considered by Amnesty responsible for war crimes, “are certainly not saints, but they are good guys and they are patriots.” Russian President Vladimir Putin, however, is “a louse.”
Those were the words of Nadia Savchenko, 35, the Ukrainian pilot sentenced to 22 years in prison in Russia, upon her return to Ukraine, where she was welcomed as a hero. Actually it was the Putin who approved the prisoner exchange with Kiev, evoking the Cold War to some, while other analysts read in it a gesture of Moscow relaxing toward Kiev.
The prisoner swap came as Ukraine declared in arbitration in London that it would not fulfill the €3 billion debt payment to Russia because “Moscow has invaded Ukraine,” proving that it does not want to give Kiev the possibility to repay this debt. The tense situation is evidently connected with the story of the Ukrainian pilot.
The Russian president justified the decision to grant Savchenko’s homecoming for “humanitarian reasons,” and some wonder whether, in fact, the Russian president’s act is not a poisoned move to put Poroshenko in more difficulty. His position is already faltering because Ukrainian civil society blames him for the comatose state of the economy, the persistence of corruption and for his involvement in the Panama Papers scandal.