Ukraine's foreign intelligence veteran, Lieutenant General Vasyl Bohdan has said Russia will be forced to release captive Ukrainian sailors for a number of objective reasons.
Commenting on Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin's statement that Russian President Putin will release 24 captured Ukrainians in the near future, Bohdan said Putin is interested in the implementation of the decision of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea since "blatant non-compliance with its decisions cannot remain outside the purview of the Western world, no matter how liberal it may be."
"Additional sanctions for non-compliance will be very tough," he said, according to the Ukrainian online news outlet Obozrevatel.
"Putin wants the sanctions to be lifted, Russia's status quo to be restored as a full-fledged and innocent world leader, etc., and one of the ways to achieve this goal is to free the Ukrainian sailors," the general said.
"An additional argument in favor of the implementation of the Tribunal's decision is an unfavorable situation in Russia," he added.
At the same time, the general is convinced: "Putin will try to make Ukraine agree to unfavorable conditions for the release of sailors. Such an attempt has already taken place – in fact, according to Russian legislation, Ukraine should have brought its heroic soldiers to criminal liability. And this, of course, is unacceptable."
"I believe our sailors will be released, but I don't really believe this will happen soon," Bohdan said.