On February 14, a regular meeting of the humanitarian work group took place in Minsk. At the meeting, the Ukrainian side refused to discuss the second stage of the prisoner exchange, which is expected soon, as well as other points of the agenda. Delegates of Ukraine unreasonably left the conference room, showing total disrespect to other participants of the meeting.
As long as we insist on the speedy exchange of prisoners and negotiation of other issues, it was decided to continue the meeting in the absence of the Kiev official representative in order to inform the Coordinator of the subgroup as well as other representatives of the Contact Group on the present situation and the stance of the DPR.
We put forward the following demands:
- to promptly release citizens of the Russian Federation who were excluded from the exchange list and now enjoy the status of free citizens, as part of the agreement reached on November 15, 2017.
- to provide a response to the request, submitted earlier, regarding criminal proceedings and procedural decisions taken for exchanged persons on December 27, 2017.
- to take measures on immediate return of identity documents, seized by Ukrainian law enforcement authorities from persons transferred to DPR as a result of the exchange.
- to terminate immediately criminal persecution, and to release persons who participated in the previous exchange, and who decided to stay in the territory controlled by the Ukrainian government owing to social and family ties in this territory.
The formula “16 for 6”, proposed by the Ukrainian side, included persons who had been placed in so-called “categories”: “particularly grave crimes” (1 person), “crimes irrelevant to ATO” (11 persons) and 4 persons, who have been recently detained by Ukrainian special services, but not included into the exchange list by DPR authorities. This proposal is unacceptable for us, because we see the decision of the Ukrainian side to stop categorizing people as an opportunity to hold the second stage of the exchange under the formula “all confirmed for all confirmed”.
I would like to underline that the Donetsk People’s Republic remains committed to the speedy return of all detainees, despite the actions of the official Kiev representative and unwillingness of the Ukrainian side to abide by their previous commitments.