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22 November 2018, 19:00

Minsk-2

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Kiev blackmails LPR, DPR, suggests partial prisoner exchange - Kobtseva

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LUGANSK, November 22 (Lugansk Media Centre) -  Ukraine is blackmailing the Donbass Republics suggesting partial prisoner swap and designating certain groups of the detainees as ineligible for exchange, Lugansk People’s Republic representative in the Contact Group humanitarian subgroup, head of the Republic’s working group on prisoner exchange Olga Kobtseva told the Lugansk Media Centre.

Special Ukrainian representative Viktor Medvechuk and Ukrainian representative Irina Geraschenko skipped the Thursday meeting of the humanitarian subgroup; Ukraine was only represented by experts who had no decision-making authority, Kobtseva said.

The LPR envoy said that Geraschenko nonetheless had brought forward prisoner exchange proposals in a letter to the OSCE coordinator at the Contact Group humanitarian subgroup Toni Frisch.

“Geraschenko suggested carrying out prisoner exchange on the condition if the LPR and the DPR agreed that the detainee list did not include the persons having Russian citizenship whom Ukraine accused of very serious crimes,” Kobtseva said.

“The Republics harshly criticised these proposals because they were at odds with the Minsk Agreements which had no provisions on splitting the detainees. We regarded the proposal voiced by Ukraine’s today as blackmail. It’s inadmissible,” she said.

The LPR and the DPR continue to insist on the all verified for all verified prisoner exchange without reservations, Kobtseva said.

The LPR representative added that the parties had failed to agree on other agenda items at the Thursday talks, including repairs on a ruined bridge span in Stanitsa Luganskaya.

Kobtseva described the position of Ukrainian representative in the Contact Group humanitarian subgroup Irina Geraschenko as “destructive , non-negotiable and aimed at derailing the Minsk Agreements.” She said that Geraschenko had lost control of the reality by accusing the Russian Federation of unwillingness to exchange prisoners.

Earlier, she said that the Kiev representatives had blocked prisoner exchange as they stopped attending the humanitarian subgroup sessions.

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.

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.

LuganskMediaCentre — 22 November — Lugansk