LUGANSK, September 17 (Lugansk Media Centre) - Prisoner exchange does not appear possible until the Ukrainian parliament brings its resolution on local elections in line with the Minsk Agreements, Lugansk People’s Republic representative in the Contact Group humanitarian subgroup, head of the LPR working group on prisoner exchange Olga Kobtseva said.
Ukraine’s Verkhovnaya Rada (parliament) set October 25 as the local elections date, however, they will not be held in the territory controlled by the LPR and the DPR. The elections to regional councils in the Kiev-controlled territory in Donbass will not take place either.
“Prisoner exchange is not possible without brining Verkhovnaya Rada’s resolution on local elections in line with the Minsk Agreements,” Kobtseva said. “What framework will we have for a prisoner swap if this resolution cancels the Minsk Agreements? This is the stumbling block which prevents further progress in the negotiations.”
The resolution “contradicts the Minsk Agreements” and is “a global problem” for the talks, she added.
Ukraine has to amend the parliament’s resolution to bring it in line with the Minsk Agreements or “make a public announcement that it is not going to implement the Minsk Agreements. The Minsk Agreements are a consolidated package of actions, so extracting just “prisoner exchange” from it is simply impossible... We see Ukraine’s double standards here: they publicly state that they implement the Minsk Agreements while doing just the opposite,” the LPR representative said.
The Ukrainian government launched the so-called anti-terrorist operation against Donbass in April 2014. Conflict settlement relies on the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements, signed on February 12, 2015 in the Belarussian capital by the Contact Group members and coordinated by the Normandy Four heads of states (Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine). The UN Security Council approved the document by Resolution No 2202 of February 17, 2015 and called upon the parties to ensure its implementation.
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.