, 12 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
THREAD on yesterday’s prisoner exchange between #Russia & #Ukraine: 1/10 Just as Savchenko’s pardon in 2016 meant the end of the active phase of war, the new prisoner exchange is meant to show that both sides are ready to move out of limbo toward proper peace.
2/10 Russia’s readiness to exchange Sentsov shows that 3 months into Zelensky’s rule, Russia accepts it is dealing with a different Ukraine, in which diplomatic tools that were useless with Poroshenko can be deployed.
3/10 For the Kremlin, key conditions for the exchange were Zelensky’s recognition of mutual benefits, and the exclusion of a victory/defeat paradigm, though commentators on both sides continue to portray it that way.
4/10 There’s a third party in the prisoner exchange: the West. The change in Ukrainian government has played a role in this, as has Macron’s enthusiasm, and Trump’s symbolic call to return Russia to the G7
5/10 For the Ukrainian side, the inclusion of Tsemakh, a key witness in the shooting down of MH17, is the biggest political cost. Tsemakh is also a Ukrainian national, meaning Ukraine has given up one of its own nationals to a foreign state.
6/10 He’s not alone: of 35 people given to Russia, at least 13 have or had Ukrainian citizenship. Their handover violates the constitution, and highlights the fact that the Ukraine conflict is to some extent a civil one.
7/10 This explains why the prisoners were greeted by relatives & the president in Kiev, and neither of those in Moscow. Many arriving in Moscow don’t have relatives there, & the lack of senior officials emphasizes Moscow's position that it’s not a party in the conflict.
8/10 The prisoner exchange has brought forward the prospect of a Normandy format meeting on the Ukraine conflict between Russia, Ukraine, France & Germany in Minsk.
9/10 Meanwhile, the contact group that will soon meet in Minsk ahead of the Normandy four will discuss the next exchange: this time between Kiev & the breakaway republics, Donetsk and Luhansk.
10/10 That exchange won’t require Ukraine to give up its nationals to a foreign state, and suits Moscow as it underlines the internal nature of the Ukraine conflict, & makes the unrecognized republics a party in the talks.
My latest piece about all this here carnegie.ru/commentary/797…
And here is the English version of my yesterday piece about the prisoner exchange carnegie.ru/commentary/798…
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