The war in eastern Ukraine has entered its fifth year and has so far cost more than 10,000 lives. But its list of casualties extends far beyond the conflict’s death toll. It also includes some 1.6 million displaced people as well as more than 100 Ukrainians formerly and currently held captive by Moscow-backed separatists in eastern Donbas and dozens of political prisoners in Russia and occupied Crimea.
In May, Ukrainian filmmaker and political prisoner Oleg Sentsov announced a hunger strike, demanding Russia release all Ukrainian political prisoners under its jurisdiction. Ukraine, in turn, has been trying to negotiate a prisoner swap with Russia. Sentsov has been among the key names on Ukraine’s list. However, following one of the largest prisoner swaps between Ukraine and the occupied territories in Donbas last December, further exchanges with both the self-proclaimed ‘Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics’ and Russia have stagnated at the negotiations stage.
This year Hromadske spoke with ex-prisoners of war, families of political prisoners and experts about the conflict in Ukraine’s east and what needs to be done to restore peace in the region. We also look back at the protests in Georgia that took place in May and Ukraine’s ongoing battle with corruption as part of our “Best of the Season” show.
Ukrainian Professor of Religious Studies
Senior Fellow at Stanford's Freeman Spogli Institute
NATO Secretary General's Special Representative for Women, Peace and Security
coordinator, DIY-Kramatorsk civic control center
Associate Professor, University of Toronto