On Monday, Markiyan Lubkivsky, an advisor to the head of the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU), commented that the Russian consul in Ukraine will not be allowed to visit Alexander Alexandrov and Yevgeny Yerofeyev, two Russian ex-military personnel captured in the Lugansk region in mid-May, for at least a month or two, following the meeting which took place May 26.
"Given the significant amount of work to be done by investigators, as well as the importance of the medical rehabilitation of the prisoners, who have been granted full medical assistance, the Russian consul will not be allowed to visit them for a month or two following his last visit," Lubkivsky stated.
The SBU official's commentary about the decision on Kiev's part to restrict Russian officials' contact with the men contradicts repeated claims by Kiev and by Ukrainian media that Russia has "abandoned" the ex-soldiers. As recently as Monday, Ukrainian news hub Glavpost stated that the "Russian intelligence officers" had been abandoned, noting that they were "disowned by the Russian Ministry of Defense the very next day after the incident."
Alexandrov and Yerofeyev, wounded and taken prisoner near the frontline town of Shchastia in the Lugansk region last month, have been accused of being active-duty personnel in the Russian armed forces. They have been charged with terrorism, and face sentences of 15 years to life if convicted. The ex-servicemen's relatives, including Alexandrov's wife and Yerofeyev's father, have declared that their loved ones had left the army between December and January, and that their confessions to Ukrainian media were obtained under duress.
For its part, the Russian Foreign Ministry has repeatedly demanded the speedy release of its two nationals.