According to the source, Moscow considers a possible exchange of the Ukrainians for Russians, kept in custody in Ukraine. It is stressed that for now, the exchange is impossible.
“Much depends on Ukraine, whether Kyiv would be ready to reach specific agreements. Yet, we have to realize that it’s impossible to exchange the Ukrainian sailors now. They are not POWs, as Kyiv is trying to show it. Therefore, we will wait for the court’s decision, and then we can talk about the exchange,” the source informed.
He added that the process might be triggered after the presidential elections in Ukraine scheduled on March 31, 2019.
“But it is impossible till the elections in Ukraine because Poroshenko would pretend it’s his victory,” the source stressed.
On November 25, the coast guard ships of the Russian Navy attacked the ships of the Ukrainian Navy, which have been carrying out a scheduled transition from Odesa port to Mariupol port in the Sea of Azov.
21 Ukrainian sailors have been delivered to Lefortovo remand center in Moscow, three others are in the hospital of Matrosskaya Tishina prison, also in the Russian capital. On December 3, the Russian prosecutors officially accused Ukrainian sailors with the 'illegal crossing of the state border' during the attack in the Kerch Strait.