LUGANSK, January 31 (Lugansk Media Centre) - Ukrainian representatives have not confirmed their readiness to exchange detainees, said head of LPR working group on prisoner exchange Olga Kobtseva following a meeting of the Contact Group humanitarian subgroup.
“Detainee exchange was the key agenda item discussed by the humanitarian subgroup,” Kobtseva told Lugansk Media Centre. “The Republics reiterated their readiness for new exchange; regrettably, Ukraine did not confirm its readiness.”
“The meeting also focused on Stanitsa Luganskaya bridge rebuilding and restoration of power supply in Novoalexandrovka. On top of that, LPR raised the problem of Ukraine’s shutting down water supply to the Republic via Popasnaya Duct.
“We’re greatly disappointed that no consensus has been reached on any of the discussed issues,” Kobtseva said.
Kobtseva, the LPR representative in the Contact Group humanitarian subgroup, earlier said that the Lugansk People’s Republic would demand that Ukraine return the 25 prisoners whom it refused to hand over to LPR in last minute refusal at the December 2017 prisoner exchange.
On 27 December, LPR, DPR and Ukraine carried out the biggest prisoner exchange in the past 14 months near Mayorsk crossing point on the contact line in DPR responsibility zone. LPR passed 16 detainees to Ukraine, and Kiev passed 73 people to LPR.
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 Donbass Republics heads assured the Russian leader that they were ready for the prisoner exchange.
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.