LPR hopes for POW exchange with Ukraine before New Year, date is not set yet - Kobtseva
LUGANSK, December 5 (Lugansk Media Centre) - LPR is hoping that the prisoner exchange with Ukraine will take place before the New Year, but no date has been set yet as Ukrainian authorities are still clearing the detainees of charges.
“As of now, it is premature to suggest the date as the dropping of charges for the detainees is still underway in Ukraine,” LPR representative at the Contact Group humanitarian subgroup, head of the LPR working group on prisoner exchange Olga Kobtseva told Lugansk Media Centre after the subgroup’s meeting in Minsk on Tuesday.
“The precise date will be announced later,” Kobtseva said. “We have the reasons to believe that the prisoner exchange would take place before the New Year.”
In previous comments, she stated that the solution of the prisoner exchange issue and the POW exchange date wholly depended on Ukraine’s position. Kobtseva also noted that LPR and DPR confirmed their readiness to hand over, respectively, 16 and 58 detainees to Ukraine. The LPR representative made it clear that the exchange should be prompt and that it must not be split into stages.
Earlier, Kiev officials said that some of the persons detained in Ukraine had to be cleared of charges and have their legal status updated.
In a telephone conversation with LPR and DPR leaders Igor Plotnitskiy and Alexander Zakharchenko on 15 November, Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed Ukrainian special representative for humanitarian issues Viktor Medvedchuk’s initiative to carry out the 306 for 74 prisoner swap in the near future.
The LPR leader told the Russian president that the Lugansk People’s Republic was ready to discuss prisoner exchange issues and that it was awaiting Kiev’s reply to these initiatives.
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 12 February 2015 and supported by member states of the Normandy Four (Germany, Russia, Ukraine and France). The UN Security Council approved the document by its 2202 Resolution 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.
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