Russian lawyer and human rights activist Nikolay Polozov has said the Kremlin will use captured Ukrainian sailors to influence Ukrainian domestic politics, in particular, parliamentary elections.
"The Kremlin is going to exploit the issue of prisoners of war to influence Ukrainian internal politics – not at the presidential but rather at parliamentary elections. That's because Ukraine is a parliamentary-presidential republic," he told Pryamiy TV Channel.
The lawyer said some opposition politicians might use captured sailors for PR.
"I won't be calling out names of certain politicians, but if two, three, or five prisoners of war are returned and some opposition politician says: 'I did it,' they'll show them on TV, people will be seeing this, saying 'Good job..." or their political force could do this."
If pro-Russian forces win parliamentary elections, Ukraine's movement to Europe could slow down significantly, Polozov stressed.
"Of course, parliamentary elections in Ukraine are more critical for the Kremlin. If a significant number of people or political forces opposing the movement toward European integration enter the parliament, they could seriously slow down the course of reforms and become a hindrance to the executive branch. Therefore, I think the Kremlin is betting on interference in parliamentary elections."