The exchange of convicts between Russia and Ukraine is a humanitarian act in no way related to the implementation of the Minsk agreements, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday.


Ukrainian nationals Vitaly Didenko and Elena Glischinskaya


“In this case, this is a purely humanitarian exchange, which has nothing to do with the implementation of the Minsk accords,” he said, adding that Kiev links this exchange to the Minsk agreements.


“In this particular case I would rule out any connection with the Minsk agreements, because the Minsk accords, even if they are not read carefully, mention other categories of citizens,” the Kremlin spokesman said.


When asked why Ukrainian citizens were exchanged for other Ukrainian nationals on Tuesday, Peskov noted that the choice was motivated by “purely humane considerations.” He recalled that Ukrainian citizen Elena Glischinskaya “had an absolutely horrible situation with her child. She was separated from her baby she gave birth to in prison immediately after his birth, the child needs medical care.” “Guided by these humane considerations, the president made this decision,” the Kremlin spokesman said.


On June 14, Russian President Vladimir Putin pardoned Ukrainian citizens Gennady Afanasyev and Yuri Soloshenko who were sent to Kiev. Later in the day, Ukrainian nationals Elena Glischinskaya with her underage child and Vitaly Didenko who were released from prison arrived in Moscow.


Yelena Glischinskaya, director of the Odessa-based Svobodnaya Volna (Free Wave) regional TV and radio company, was charged by the Ukrainian authorities with separatism and treason, facing, according to the Criminal Code of Ukraine, an imprisonment term of 12 to 15 years. She was an activist of the People’s Rada of Bessarabia public movement, whosse declared goal was to protect the interests of national minorities of the Odessa region (Gagauz, Bulgarians, Moldovans and other nations), which, according to the movement, were infringed by the central authorities. She gave birth to her third child while in prison.


Vitaly Didenko, the editor-in-chief of the Odessa city Information Center website, was sentenced to three years of supervised release.