Russian Foreign Ministry “indicated the possibility” to discuss the exchange of defenders of Mariupol with Ukraine. This comes after numerous days of russia playing “hard to get”: threatening to prohibit the very possibility of Ukrainian defenders’ exchange, claiming they russia will trial or even execute them, only to be hinting now that the exchange is still possible.

However, it is likely not for Victor Medvedchuk, Ukrainian oligarch with close ties to Putin (Putin it the godfather of Medvedchuk’s youngest daughter). Medvedchuk was captured by Security Service of Ukraine last month and now faces criminal charges. Ukraine offered to exchange him for Ukrainian POW captured by russia. But even although russian State Duma member Leonid Slutsky from the russian negotiating team initially said that they would “consider the possibility” , he later “changed his mind”.

Victor Medvedchuk, detained in Armed Forces of Ukraine’s uniform,
photo: Volodymyr Zelenskyi

Not surprisingly: as early as previous month Peskov already commented on possibility saying russia won’t exchange Ukrainian POWs, held in russia, for Medvedchuk, because he is “not a citizen of russia” and “has nothing to do with the” operation “in Ukraine.”, russian media reported.

At the same time, we know that some of the defenders of Mariupol were moved from Azovstal to Russia – to Rostov and Taganrog. Technically it might mean that russia can’t execute them, as death penalty is banned in russia.

Then again, it’s still russia.

Although the overall dynamics of Russia’s push and pull indicates that an exchange still stays an option.

On February 24, Russia attacked Ukraine. We continue to follow the development of the situation. If you have information about Russian troops movement or any other information you want to share with us, email us via [email protected] or text in telegram on @JavelinSt. For particularly sensitive data – reach out, we will send more encrypted channels.

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