15 October 2020, 23:12


Kiev representative in humanitarian group derails Ukraine’s commitments - Kobtseva

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LUGANSK, October 15 (Lugansk Media Centre) - Ukrainian representative in the Contact Group humanitarian subgroup Galina Tretyakova has made a statement derailing Kiev’s commitments to drop charges against the persons handed over to the Donbass Republics in the prisoner swap in 2019, Lugansk People’s Republic representative in the Contact Group humanitarian subgroup, head of the LPR working group on prisoner exchange Olga Kobtseva told reporters.

“As of today, Ukraine has not completed the prisoner exchange 2019,” Kobtseva said, “their representative (former head of the Ukrainian delegation at the Minsk tasks Leonid) Kuchma signed the commitment stating that over a certain period, charges against all the persons would be dropped, i.e. they will be exempted from criminal liability, and that the humanitarian subgroup and the Contact Group would be notified thereof.”

“At the previous meeting of the humanitarian group on October 13 and the Contact Group on October 14, Ukrainian representative Tretyakova said that trials could last for years and that releasing people under somebody’s personal guarantee did not give them the right not to attend the trial. Consequently, Mrs Tretyakova’s statement completely derailed the commitments (announced by Ukraine’s former representative in the humanitarian subgroup) Mrs (Valeria) Lutkovskaya and signed by Mr Kuchma,” she said.

“Ukraine takes a very convenient position shifting the responsibility onto other persons to dodge its commitments,” Kobtseva noted.

“Today, we can clearly state that Ukraine sabotages the release of people and promotes itself in the media space, finding the culprit and refusing to see themselves in the mirror,” the LPR representative said.

“Starting from 2015, the humanitarian group has always discussed the issue of exempting the people - involved in events “in certain areas of the Lugansk and Donetsk regions” - from criminal liability and the adoption of the law on amnesty for those involved in Donbass events, but Ukraine flatly refuses to meet this demand.

“Ukraine has shown its destructive position from the moment it signed the Minsk Agreements. They have adopted a selective approach to meeting their commitments; the release of people which we call prisoner exchange remains a sensitive issue for Ukraine. For the process to happen, it would be a good thing for Ukraine to fulfil its commitments,” Kotseva said.

Ukraine’s Verkhovnaya Rada (parliament) set October 25 as the local elections date, however, they will not be held in the territory controlled by the LPR and the DPR or in Kiev-controlled areas in Donbass, she said.

“Since the Verkhovnaya Rada adopted the resolution on local election, where Item 4 scraps the Minsk Agreements, Ukraine has been doing everything to dodge its commitments. Most importantly, Mr (incumbent head of the Ukrainian delegation at the Minsk talks Leonid) Kravchuk and other Ukrainian officials state at the talks that they have no powers to influence the president, parliament etc. In that case, the question is whether they’re authorised at all to represent their own state at the Minsk talks,” Kobtseva said.

Earlier, she said that up to date, Kiev had been unable to drop charges against the persons passed to the Donbass Republics during the prisoner exchange in late December 2019.

She also noted that prisoner exchange did not appear possible until the Ukrainian parliament had brought its resolution on local elections in line with the Minsk Agreements.

A large prisoner exchange between the Donbass Republics and Ukraine, the first 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. The previous large prisoner exchange between the Donbass Republics and Ukraine took place on December 27, 2017. Back then, 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.

Prisoner exchange is a key point of the Minsk Agreements.

Ukrainian government launched the so-called anti-terrorist operation against Donbass in April 2014. Conflict settlement relies on the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements, signed on February 12, 2015 in the Belarussian capital by the Contact Group members and coordinated by the Normandy Four heads of states (Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine). The UN Security Council approved the document by Resolution No 2202 of February 17, 2015 and called upon the parties to ensure its implementation.

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 — 15 October — Lugansk