LUGANSK, December 25 (Lugansk Media Centre) - The Lugansk People’s Republic is ready for prisoner exchange, acting LPR head Leonid Pasechnik told reporters following a peacemaking meeting with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia on Monday.
Leader of Ukrainian Choice - People’s Right social movement Viktor Medvedchuk said after the meeting with the Russian patriarch that the venue and time of the prisoner exchange between Kiev and the Donbass Republics would be announced in the morning of 27 December.
“The Republic is ready for prisoner exchange under the terms and accords reached at today’s meeting,” Pasechnik said. “We confirm our readiness for peace talks and peaceful solution of the Donbass conflict,” TASS quoted Pasechnik as saying.
Earlier, Pasechnik said that LPR hoped to carry out the 306 for 74 prisoner exchange before the New Year.
LPR representative in the humanitarian subgroup, head of the Republic’s working group on prisoner exchange Olga Kobtseva said earlier this month that LPR was hoping that the prisoner exchange with Ukraine would take place before the New Year, but that no date had been set as the “legal clearance” of detainees was still ongoing in Ukraine. She also stated that the solution of the prisoner exchange issue and the date wholly depended on Ukraine’s position. LPR and DPR confirmed their readiness to hand over 16 and 58 detainees to Ukraine, respectively. The LPR representative made it clear that the exchange must not be split into stages.
Kiev officials said that some of the detainees had to go through so-called “clearance procedure” in order to 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.