Bariiev: “The next exchange of political prisoners will take place when the aggressor state decides”

March 3, 2020

Eskender Bariiev, head of the board of the Crimean Tatar Resource Center, member of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people, said in his interview to Pryamiy TV channel that the next exchange of political prisoners between Ukraine and the Russian Federation will take place when the aggressor state decides it, and when the international community pressures it.  

“An exchange can take place only under one condition — when it is beneficial to the aggressor state. In the exchange of 2019, Ukrainian sailors were the locomotive of exchange. As a result, the Russian Federation had to release them anyway, and in particular, it tried to smear and get rid of toxic individuals such as Sentsov, Bekirov, and others, who were widely known around the world. At that moment, we could release as more Crimean political prisoners as possible, but we did not take advantage of it," Bariiev emphasized.

The head of the CTRC noted that in 2020, the question of Crimean political prisoners will be discussed only when the international community pressures Russia.

Bariiev also commented on the Constitutional Court meeting on the eve of Verkhovna Rada session. He emphasized that this could not be accidental, since if the Court declares the document on lustration illegal, it will allow a number of officials of the Yanukovich era, to hold positions in state apparatus. Earlier, the information appeared that the President of Ukraine is considering the candidacy of businessman Sergey Tihipko for the Prime Minister post, although he falls under the law on lustration.

“The decision of the Constitutional Court will be a signifier for Ukrainian society. It will signify where our state is moving, and whether it is moving towards a dictatorship. This will gesture that the Constitutional Court is not impartial and is completely under the control of one person — the President of Ukraine. We must draw certain conclusions and realize what to expect”,  he explained.