Russia and Ukraine Swap Prisoners in a Victory for Diplomacy

MOSCOWWhat happened on Saturday between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was a unique moment in the five-year long conflict and it was a real victory of diplomacy. The two politicians, one a former KGB officer, another a former comedian, managed to keep their promises to each other and swap 70 prisoners variously accused of illegal border crossing, espionage, murders, assassination attempts or terrorism. The significance lies in the high profiles of the prisoners both Kiev and Moscow released and offers a glimmer of hope that the two neighbors and former allies could eventually overcome the bloody division that has separated them since Ukraines Revolution of Dignity. For Zelensky the prisoner swap was a huge political risk: …

After Beating and Hernia, American Prisoner Paul Whelan Refused Hospitalization by FSB Doctors

MOSCOWPaul Whelan, a U.S. citizen held in Russia on suspicion of spying, looked pale and sick when his prison guards brought him to Lefortovo court on Friday.He said he had been beaten and is suffering from a hernia, but his condition is hardly a surprise after eight months in Moscows Lefortovo, a prison run but the Russian Federal Security Service, FSB, and it looks like Whelan has learned only too well how incarceration there operates. Whelan is facing 20 years in Russian prison for spying, after accepting a flashcard that allegedly contains some sensitive information. His family is far away, he does not speak the Russian language, and on top of everything the 49-year-old security manager for a Michigan-based auto …