10 August 2018, 18:04



Prisoner exchange always tops humanitarian subgroup’s agenda - Kobtseva

LUGANSK, August 10 (Lugansk Media Centre) - The prisoner exchange issue has always topped the agenda of the Contact Group’s working group on humanitarian issues, LPR representative in the humanitarian subgroup, head of the LPR working group on prisoner exchange Olga Kobtseva told the Lugansk Media Centre.

“The issue has never been taken off the agenda since the establishment of the working grup and the beginning of the Minsk negotiations; it’s always been the primary issue,” Kobtseva said. “The latest Ukrainian media hype that it will be the key issue is nothing more than cheap populism which Ukraine has long been practicing.”

“I’d like to focus on this point: the person responsible for prisoner exchange negotiations is Viktor Medvedchuk, as mass media outlets and president (of Ukraine Petr) Poroshenko repeatedly said. In June 2018, Mr Medvedchuk proposed a dialogue over the 174 for 43 prisoner swap,” Kobsteva said noting that “regrettably, no headway was made except for statements in the press,” she said.

She reminded that Kiev representatives at the Minsk talks avoided the discussion of a number of important social issues.

“I would also like to remind (Kiev representative in the humanitarian subgroup ) Mrs Geraschenko about the issues which Ukraine does not want to discuss in Minsk and avoids their solutions  - such as the rebuilding of the Stanitsa bridge and simultaneous opening of the crossing points in Schastye and Zolotoye - we’re ready to consider them and honour our commitments.”

Another problem which Ukraine refuses to discuss is the repair of water trunk pipes which have been repaired in Ukraine up to the contact line, but not in the LPR,” she went on. “Water supply belongs to humanitarian rules. Although these water lines are functional, they have developed major leaks, so repairs on the trunk lines are necessary.”

“Furthermore, Geraschenko’s latest statements are at olds with the Minsk Agreements which supplement the UN Security Council resolution. In this connection, we urge Ukraine to act reasonably at the next talks and begin a productive dialogue,” Kobtseva said.

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.

LuganskMediaCentre — 10 August — Lugansk