18 December 2018, 13:18


LPR awaits Kiev reps in Minsk to discuss prisoner exchange date, details

LUGANSK, December 18 (Lugansk Media Centre) - The Lugansk People’s Republic hopes that Kiev’s authorised representatives Viktor Medvedchuk and Irina Geraschenko who have not attended the Contact Group humanitarian subgroup meetings for several months, will turn up for the December 19 talks to discuss the date and details of the upcoming prisoner exchange, LPR representative in the Contact Group humanitarian subgroup Olga Kobtseva told the Lugansk Media Centre.

The humanitarian subgroup will have the next meeting on December 19; the agenda includes prisoner exchange, Kobtseva said.

“We hope that Kiev’s authorised representatives who have stayed away from the Belarussian capital for several months will at last arrive and that we’ll have an opportunity to discuss and agree all details and the date of the upcoming exchange,” she said.

“We expect a productive dialogue and approach from Ukraine at the next talks, because it is crucial for the fates of hundreds of people in Ukrainian prisons who wish to reunite with their families in the Donbass Republics to meet the New Year together,” Kobtseva said. “I’m sure the detainees who want to return to their homes in Ukraine feel the same.”

She said that the LPR strictly adhered to the Minsk Agreements and that the exchange was only possible under the “all verified for all verified” principle, without any discrimination and categorizing.

It is planned to discuss the restoration of a bridge span in Stanitsa Luganskaya and agree the International Committee of the Red Cross project which provided for a 3-meter bridge breadth to allow the passage of ambulances.

On top of that, the parties will consider simultaneous opening of the crossing points in Zolotoye and Schastye; the LPR “presented the road map on the issue last year, but Kiev has been avoiding the discussion,” Kobsteva said.

She said that the LPR confirmed its readiness for prisoner exchange.

Earlier, Kobsteva 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.

Kobsteva 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.

Currently there is only one official checkpoint on the contact line in the Lugansk People’s Republic area of responsibility in Donbass and it is accessible via the bridge in vicinity of Stanitsa Luganskaya. Only pedestrian traffic here is possible thanks to temporary conduit, as the bridge was blown up by Ukrainian forces in early 2015. LPR has been continuously proposing to rebuild it.

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 — 18 December — Lugansk