Donbass Republics not to strike supporters off prisoner exchange lists - Kobtseva
LUGANSK, December 19 (Lugansk Media Centre) - The Donbass Republis will not strike their supporters off prisoner exchange lists, the Lugansk People’s Republic representative to the Contact Group humanitarian subgroup, head of the LPR working group on prisoner exchange Olga Kobtseva said at a press briefing at the Lugansk Media Centre.
After the Contact Group and its subgroups talks in Minsk on December 18, Ukrainain mass media reported that Ukraine had offered to take off the list 11 Berkut special task force police convicted by Kiev for their role during the “maidan” revolution of 2014, and that the Republics’ objections were among the reasons behind the failure of the prisoner echange talks.
“The Republics take a tough stance on the issue: we won’t take out anybody,” Kobtseva said. “If the “Normandy Four” meeting (between the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France in Paris on December 9-10) decided to exchange people under the “all verified for all verified” principle, and these persons have been verified, Ukraine confirmed them and designated their procedural status, this talk (about striking them off the list) is out of the question.”
Earlier she said that the Minsk talks participants might discuss prisoner exchange and release at a video conference next week.
On Wednesday, the Contact Group humanitarian subgroup was unable to agree on the release and exchange of prisoners and failed to discuss the launching of new crossing points on the contact line because of Kiev representative’s position. “Ukraine actually failed the reaching of the accords on two decisions made at the “Normandy Four” meeting, Kobtseva said.
On December 9-10, Paris hosted a summit of the leaders of the “Normandy Four” states (Germany, Russia, France, Ukraine). The parties agreed on a prisoner exchange in Donbass under the “all verified for all verified” principle by yearend. They also called for ensuring a full and comprehensive ceasefire by the end of 2019 and supported the Contact Group accord on three more areas for the disengagement of forces and hardware in the conflict zone by the end of March 2020.
Earlier Kobtseva said that Ukraine could not guarantee the legal clearance of the detainees which was crucial for the “all verified for all verified” prisoner exchange.
Prisoner exchange is a key point of the Minsk Agreements.
The Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements was adopted by the Contact Group on Ukraine on February 12, 2015 and supported by member states of the Normandy Four (Germany, Russia, Ukraine and France). The UN Security Council approved the document by Resolution 2202 and called upon all the sides to ensure full implementation of the Package of Measures.
The document provides for comprehensive ceasefire, withdrawal of all heavy weapons from the contact line, starting a dialog on reconstruction of social and economic ties between Kiev and Donbass. It also envisages carrying out constitutional reform in Ukraine providing for decentralization and adopting permanent legislation on a special status of certain areas of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.
LuganskMediaCentre — 19 December — Lugansk