Detention of a Donbas separatists’ officer Andriy Kosyak sparked a new diplomatic row between Ukraine and Russia.
Kosyak who was part of a joint commission overlooking a ceasefire at the frontlines was arrested by the Ukrainian military for his alleged involvement with undercover reconnaissance mission.
His arrest prompted outrage in Russia-controlled Donestk leading to suspension of OSCE monitoring mission in the region on security concerns after its monitors were blocked in a Donetsk hotel.
Russia snaps back
Moscow’s response came on October 19, 6 days after the detention. Mariya Zakharova, the official spokesperson for Russian Foreign Ministry, made an official statement claiming Kosyak was arrested ‘despite security guarantees offered by Kyiv to Special Coordination and Control Centre’ and
She argued the act was ‘treacherous and provocative’ since Ukraine failed to inform Moscow about the arrest of the Russian citizen’.
Donbas representative of ‘LNR’ called an emergency meeting of Trilateral Contact Group following the incident but Kyiv officials axed the idea.
Zakharova called on the Ukrainian side to ‘reconsider their position and stop provocations’, demanding Kyiv reveal the whereabouts of Russian citizen Andrey Kosyak and grant Russian consular officers access to him.
Sardonic reaction from Kyiv officials
Moscow complaint got a swift and somewhat caustic response from Ukrainian representatives on Minsk Trilateral Contact Group.
‘Russian Foreign Ministry officially confirmed Russian citizens were involved in the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine. We welcome this courageous act of Russian representatives as accepting reality after eight years of consistent lies is hard’, said Ukrainian diplomats in a statement.
In his comments for ‘Bukvy’, Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Oleh Nikolayenko said they were ‘surprised’ it took Russia almost a week to respond to the story, and such tardy handling, he said, is illustrative of Russia’s treatment of people from other countries.
Nikiforov stressed Russia is interested only in ‘issuance of a [Russian] passport’ and ‘cynical use’ of people it keeps sending to war, noting Moscow should instead show same ‘fervor’ while attending to cases of Ukrainians detained in Russia.