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Ukrainian court puts in custody Russian citizen excluded from prisoner swap

December 30, 2017, 0:50 UTC+3 KIEV

Yevgeny Mefyodov is one of the activists of the anti-Maidan movement whom the Ukrainian prosecution accuses of organizing disorders in Odessa in May 2014

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© Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS

KIEV, December 30. /TASS/. A district court in Odessa on Friday issued a new ruling to appoint custody for the Russian citizen Yevgeny Mefyodov, whom the Ukrainian authorities excluded previously from the lists for exchange of prisoners, Mefyodov’s lawyer Valentin Rybin wrote in Facebook on Friday.

"The ruling of the investigating judge stays in effect through to January 18, 2018," he quoted the court resolution. "We’ll file an appeal within five days."

The court had a session behind closed doors. Previous sessions were accompanied by provocations on the part of rightwing radical organizations.

Yevgeny Mefyodov is one of the activists of the anti-Maidan movement whom the Ukrainian prosecution accuses of organizing disorders in Odessa in May 2014 when arson the House of the Trade Unions killed 48 people as a minimum.

On September 18, a court in Chernomorsk exonerated all activists of the anti-Maidan of guilt. But right after the judge read out the resolution, the prosecutors and SBU security agency officers issued new charges to Mefyodov citing ‘encroachment on Ukraine’s territorial integrity’, after which he was placed to custody again.

Somewhat later, Mefyodov was placed on the list of prisoners subject to an exchange but he dropped out of it at the initiative of the Ukrainian side, although he did not reject the exchange option. The authorities dropped another fourteen Russians off the list along with Mefyodov.

Viktor Medvedchuk, the Ukrainian government’s representative in the Ukraine Contact Group said in an explanation for the motion that Ukraine could not include Russian citizens in the list of persons taken prisoner in Donbass, as the CIS countries have a convention saying people who committed crimes can be exchanged only via Foreign Ministry channels.

President Pyotr Poroshenko said in this connection Ukraine would free the arrested Russian citizens only in exchange for the Ukrainians convicted in Russia.

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