Kiev’s prisoner discrimination foils POW exchange - Kobtseva
LUGANSK, December 20 (Lugansk Media Centre) - The attempts by Ukrainian representatives at the Contact Group meeting in Minsk to divide prisoners into categories did not allow the negotiators to agree the upcoming POW exchange, Lugansk People’s Republic representative in the Contact Group humanitarian subgroup, head of the LPR working group on prisoner exchange Olga Kobtseva told the Lugansk Media Centre after the talks in the Belarussian capital.
The prisoner exchange accords could not be reached due to Kiev’s destructive position, Kobtseva said.
“Ukraine insists on dividing the detainees into categories which contradicts the Minsk Agreements and is unacceptable to us,” the LPR representative said.
“The issue of handing over the persons convicted before 2014 has nothing to do with the negotiations; this issue is not on the agenda of the talks in Minsk,” Kobtseva said. “We are ready to cooperate if Ukraine wants further interaction.”
“We also discussed the issue of missing persons but failed to reach accords because of Kiev’s destructive position, so we’re working on it bilaterally,” she added.
The LPR official expressed the hope that the international community would provide assistance in resolving the issue.
Earlier, Kobtseva said that the LPR awaited Kiev representative in Minsk to discuss the prisoner exchange date and details.
She said that the LPR confirmed its readiness for prisoner swap.
Earlier, Kobtseva said that Ukrainian representatives at the meetings of the Contact Group and its subgroups had renewed the attempts to drag Russia into the Donbass prisoner exchange.
Ukraine is blackmailing the Donbass Republics suggesting partial prisoner swap and designating certain groups of the detainees as ineligible for exchange, she said.
Kobtseva stated 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 — 20 December — Lugansk