LUGANSK, April 21 (Lugansk Media Centre) - The Contact Group humanitarian subgroup failed to make headway in the issues of prisoner exchange and the opening of new crossing points, Lugansk People’s Republic representative to the subgroup, head of the LPR working group on prisoner exchange Olga Kobtseva said after negotiations at the video conference on Tuesday.
“We had the same agenda negotiating prisoner exchange and the opening of (more) crossing points,” Kobtseva said. “Regrettably, it was not possible to achieve a constructive decision with Ukraine.”
Earlier, she said that Ukraine had taken a pause in the issue of opening additional crossing points on the contact line.
On April 16, the LPR and Kiev carried out prisoner exchange as agreed by the Contact Group. Ukraine handed over four people to the LPR and the latter released 11 detainees.
The previous prisoner exchange between the Donbass Republics and Ukraine, the largest in the past two years, took place on December 29, 2019 in the vicinity of the Gorlovka-Mayorskoye crossing point in the Donetsk People’s Republic responsibility zone. The LPR passed 25 detainees to Ukraine, and latter passed 63 people to the Republic.
On December 27, 2017, the LPR handed over 16 detainees to Ukraine, and Kiev passed 73 people to the LPR. Overall, more than 300 people were involved in the exchange.
The Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements was adopted by the Contact Group on Ukraine on 12 February 2015 and supported by member states of the Normandy Four (Germany, Russia, Ukraine and France). The UN Security Council approved the document by its 2202 Resolution 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.
To facilitate the work of the Contact Group, four working groups were set up under its aegis to deal with issues of security, politics, return of internally displaced people and refuges, as well as with social, humanitarian, economic and rehabilitation issues.