Russia detains Ukrainian veteran on its territory

On 2 January, Ukraine asked the Russian Foreign Ministry for information about the detention of Oleh Nehoda, a war veteran travelling to Russia to visit his relatives. Ukrainian Secret Service (SBU) confirmed Nehoda's detention and cautioned against visits to Russia, warning that the Russian FSB is "on the hunt" for Ukrainians.

Russia, who avoided confirming the allegation, does not treat Ukrainians detained on its territory as POWs, partially because it would admit it is part of the Ukrainian conflict and partially because then they can be tried as criminals according to Russian law. This latest development comes after the exchange of 233 rebels for 73 Ukrainian servicemen held in the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics on 27 December. Meanwhile, Moscow continues to reject US calls for a UN peacekeeping mission and recently escalated the violence in Donbass. The US administration responded to this by approving a $47 million deal with Ukraine for the delivery of the highly capable FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank missiles and instructed the US Military's European Command to arrange the shipment. This significantly raised stakes in the conflict as both Russia and its proxies in Donbass rely heavily on tank warfare.

About author: Mihai Turcanu


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