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24 December 2019, 19:30

MILITARY&DEFENCE

Minsk-2

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Kiev unilaterally removes verified persons from prisoner exchange list - Kobtseva

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LUGANSK, December 24 (Lugansk Media Centre) - Ukraine has unilaterally removed a number of verified persons from the prisoner exchange list, Lugansk People’s Republic representative to the Contact Group humanitarian subgroup, head of the LPR working group on prisoner exchange Olga Kobtseva told the Lugansk Media Centre.

The Minsk talks participants reached the accord at the video conference on Monday to carry out a prisoner exchange by yearend, Kobtseva said. “During the dialogue at the December 23 video conference, the representatives of the Republics and Ukraine unanimously supported the “Normandy Four” decision of December 9, 2019, to release people under the “all verified for all verified principle” before the end of 2019.”

“I have to say that as of 18:00, December 24, Ukraine had passed us incorrect lists of the prisoners due to be exchanged,” she said. “To be more precise, it unilaterally removed a number of people from the list, and changed the information concerning the status of some detainees and their participation in the exchange.”

On December 9, 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.

However, the Contact Group failed to reach the prisoner exchange accord at the talks in Minsk on December 18 due to the position of Kiev representatives.

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. She said that the Republic was ready to hand over up to 30 people to Ukraine.

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 — 24 December — Lugansk