26 January 2017, 17:21


Kiev says not ready to exchange identified DPR/LPR residents – Kobtseva

Ukrainian representatives said during Thursday video conference that Kiev is not ready to release LPR and DPR residents confirmed as held in Ukraine, LPR representative in the Contact Group humanitarian subgroup Olga Kobtseva told Lugansk Media Centre.

“Ukraine finally secured its representatives participation. Mr (Viktor) Medvedchuk (special representative for humanitarian issues) and Mrs (Irina) Geraschenko (Ukraine’s representative in the humanitarian subgroup) attended the talks,” Kobtseva said.

“Lugansk and Donetsk reconfirmed our readiness for release of identified persons,” she went on.

“We sent POW lists to Ukraine, but no reply came, yet Medvedchuk articulated the figure concerning Donetsk and Lugansk,” Kobtseva said.

“Ukraine said it was not ready for prisoner exchange citing the reasons preventing their release, in direct violation of the Minsk agreements. Though the Kiev reps admitted it, they said it was still “a fact and that we had to work on prisoner exchange with what was available,” she said.

The humanitarian subgroup’s next meeting is scheduled for 1 February. “We’ll continue the dialogue on the key issue, i.e. people’s release,” Kobtseva said.

Earlier, the LPR official said the 18 January video conference over prisoner exchange did not take place as Ukrainian reps failed to attend.

Prisoner exchange is a key issue in the Package of Measures for the Implementation 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 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 — 26 January — Lugansk