Former deputy chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Lt Gen (Reserve) Ihor Romanenko has commented on the recent developments around, a Ukrainian politician with ties to Vladimir Putin, Viktor Medvedchuk, and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.
The president earlier instructed the SBU security service to report on further feasibility of Medvedchuk's participation in the Minsk talks on the release of Ukrainian hostages from Donbas and political prisoners – from Russia, as reported by the Ukrainian news outlet Glavred on April 15.
"I think that such a belated reaction of the Ukrainian authorities is connected with Putin's demand for the Ukrainian side that Medvedchuk participate in the negotiation process. Ukraine was forced to comply with this condition, because, in fact, it was clearly stated: if Medvedchuk is part of the negotiations, Ukrainian prisoners will be freed, and if not, prisoners won't be swapped. They had been working by this scenario," the expert said.
According to Romanenko, Poroshenko's recent move is directly related to a changing political situation.
"Recently, the prisoner exchange between Ukraine and the [Russia-backed] militants [in Donbas] has been suspended because Putin wasn't willing to play along and help President Poroshenko ahead of the elections. Since last summer, Medvedchuk has not participated in the humanitarian group within the Minsk negotiation process. But despite this fact, he enjoyed the right offlying charter from Kyiv to Moscow," Romanenko added.