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 Ukraine got moral victory over Putin in prisoner swap, - Bloomberg View

The exchange of Ukrainian pilot and MP Nadiia Savchenko for two captured GRU operatives Yevgeny Yerofeyev and Alexander Aleksandrov has made Putin a loser.

As reported by Censor.NET, this was the opinion of Bloomberg View columnist Leonid Bershidsky.

He wrote: " Savchenko was captured by the separatist militants near Luhansk in June 2014, and taken to Russia. There, she was charged as an accomplice in the killing of two Russian state TV journalists: According to Russian prosecutors, she had been directing Ukrainian artillery fire in the area where they perished. The prisoner was defiant, only speaking Ukrainian in court, wearing T-shirts with Ukrainian state symbols and declaring several consecutive hunger strikes. In Ukraine, she quickly became a heroine, a symbol of the indomitable national spirit, of the possibility of a moral victory over Russia, if not a military one. Russia appeared to have plans for Savchenko. The regime was using military intelligence groups to stir up trouble in Eastern Ukraine and coordinate rebel operations: The untrained, thuggish locals couldn't be trusted, and the starry-eyed nationalist volunteers arriving from Russia were, if possible, even worse. Russia wouldn't admit its involvement, and Ukraine was eager to prove it. One day, Russian intelligence officers could fall into a trap and would need to be rescued.

Read more: Savchenko's exchange for Russian commandos settled by Normandy Four leaders during telephone negotiation, - Hollande

"That happened a year ago. The same volunteer battalion in which Savchenko had fought captured two wounded GRU operatives, Yevgeny Yerofeev and Alexander Alexandrov. The two admitted their affiliation. Yet the GRU quickly announced that they had been discharged months before and that if they were fighting in Ukraine, it was only as volunteers helping the rebels. At their trial, Yerofeev and Alexandrov described themselves as "unemployed."

"The contrast with Savchenko couldn't have been more stark. Russia appeared to care little about its personnel captured in Ukraine: The deniability of its involvement was more important. As Savchenko reaps her laurels and makes her debut as a nationalist politician and probably a magnet for radical forces, the two GRU operatives will disappear into obscurity. Russian intelligence has done its traditional duty by them, but, similarly in keeping with Russian tradition, their capture prevents their elevation to the status of heroes.

Read more: Poroshenko: "We will return Donbas and Crimea just as we returned Nadiia"

"Yet the story of Savchenko and the two GRU men shows why it's easier to sympathize with Ukraine. Savchenko's colorful defiance and her country's spirited defense of her were more pure, more human than Russia's official rejection and reluctant rescue of Alexandrov and Yerofeev. Besides, Savchenko has a much better explanation of how she ended up in captivity than the Russian servicemen: She was defending her country. The GRU men had been following orders they didn't question, fighting against a neighboring country that had not attacked Russia.

"In that sense, the exchange was not equivalent. Ukraine got the moral victory."
 
 
 
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