Comment from Daria Morozova on the outcomes of the meeting of Humanitarian Subgroup

Comments and statements of the Ombudsman News

Today, on 15 September, the planned meeting of the Humanitarian Subgroup of the Contact Group in the city of Minsk to resolve the crisis in Donbas took place. The negotiations were held through a video-conference.

The issue on “procedural cleansing” of persons, who were transferred in the territory of DPR in the course of the exchanges 2019-2020, is still core in the framework of discussing by the humanitarian subgroup during few last months. The DPR, for its part, carried out all duties in this direction, and we reasonably require the same steps from Ukraine, in which the coordinator of our subgroup supports us. In response, we can hear only promises and see formal replies from the Ukrainian representatives. Their side doesn’t take steps, in fact, which will guarantee freedom and security of earlier detained persons. With regret, I note that in the course of the past negotiations, the progress on this issue wasn’t achieved.

It should be noted that on the eve of today’s meeting, Ukraine sent a letter to us, in which it announced its intention for clemency of 9 earlier detained persons. However, we can’t view this document as a perspective. We have repeatedly received letters of similar content from Kiev earlier, but no action followed. Thus, out of 50 citizens displaced to the territory of the DPR during the 2019-2020 exchanges, only one was procedurally “cleared”. Four more are officially wanted by the MIA of Ukraine. One person was detained again.

I think this position is unacceptable and want to emphasize: Kiev deliberately evades its obligations. This is also evidenced by the fact that the representative of Ukraine in the humanitarian subgroup, under various pretexts, has already left for several meetings in a row, leaving in his place an expert who is not a full participant in the negotiation process.

Unfortunately, all this confirms the fears that Kiev, contrary to all agreements, intends to continue the criminal prosecution of our citizens. In such a situation, public statements by the Ukrainian side about their readiness to conduct the next phase of the exchange are an open provocation.