Having completed one of the last meetings of the Humanitarian Subgroup this year, I must admit that it is difficult for me to hide my disappointment. After the two big exchanges of detainees, I sincerely expressed my hope to hear at the end of this year the results of the work done, and constructive offers from the Ukrainian side that would bring our format of negotiations to a fundamentally new level. However, practically nothing was done. All exchanges have not yet been completed, despite the documents that were signed by the members of the Contact Group from Ukraine. There are still 50 citizens to whom the procedural “cleaning” has not been applied.
I believe that the Ukrainian side deliberately did not want to fulfill its obligations, despite the presence of all the prerequisites for this. As a result, Ukraine did absolutely nothing to complete the exchanges that took place in December 2019 and April 2020. Accordingly, the Ukrainian side is solely and fully responsible for disrupting a potential “all for all” exchange that could have occurred in the outgoing year. Thus, Kiev has shown that it does not intend to fulfill its obligations and is not interested in further exchanges.
Based on the foregoing, I would like to remind you that criminal prosecution were terminated in relation to all persons who were transferred to the territory of Ukraine from our side. The DPR has fulfilled all its obligations. Therefore, if we want to move forward on the transfer of detainees, Ukraine is obliged to complete the exchanges that have passed as soon as possible. Also, in the future I would like to see all the incoming proposals of the Ukrainian side not orally, but in writing. This is necessary, first of all, so that we could give the letter a legal assessment and prove, or challenge positions based not on words, but on a specific document.
I should admit that the results of work over the past year are perhaps the most insignificant in all 5 years of the existence of our negotiation format. Accordingly, in order to avoid the same “results” next year, I urge the Ukrainian side to finally stop beating around the bush, namely between its promises and the pursuit of ratings with loud headlines in the media. Because the only result of these actions today is people who will not be able to return home and celebrate the holidays with their relatives and friends.
In the end, I want to say that it is very significant that President Zelensky takes the time to visit Ukrainian servicemen on the Contact Line and express his admiration for them, instead of at least once looking into the eyes of mothers whose children were killed by the fire of the AFU, or families awaiting the return of their relatives from captivity. Apparently, the discrepancy in the fulfillment of promises about peace and real steps to achieve it is an incurable disease of Ukrainian policy.