Kiev must fulfil its obligations under previous stages of procedure to carry out new exchange – Daria Morozova

Comments and statements of the Ombudsman Media News

A new prisoner exchange is not possible until Ukraine fulfils its obligations at all stages of the procedure. This was announced to DAN today by the representative of the DPR in the humanitarian subgroup, the Human Rights Ombudsman in the Republic Daria Morozova.

Earlier today, the press secretary of the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy Yulia Mendel said that it is necessary to intensify the process of the prisoner exchange in Donbass. According to her, the upcoming Easter holiday on May 2 may become a reason for this.

“In recent statements on the prisoner exchange, the representatives of Ukraine, to put it mildly, contradict each other,” Morozova said. “The delegates from Kiev in the humanitarian subgroup of the Contact Group declare that at the moment they expect amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine. This supposedly will give them the opportunity to fulfil the obligations of the procedural “cleansing” of previously released persons and move on to new stages of exchange. That is, in fact, they admit their guilt for the lack of progress on this issue and try to justify inaction.”

The Ombudsman noted that, on the other hand, the speaker of the Ukrainian delegation to the Contact Group, Aleksey Arestovich, informs the media about the allegedly regular sending of Ukrainian lists to representatives of the DPR and LPR for the next exchange and accuses the Republic of blocking the process. Mendel calls the upcoming Easter a good reason to intensify the prisoner exchange, however, she understands that a new exchange is impossible until they fulfil their obligations under the previous stages of the procedure, including the termination of the criminal prosecution of 50 persons transferred to the DPR in 2019 and 2020.

“All this informational confusion and the absence of a unified media position on the exchange of prisoners testifies to only one thing, that there are no objective reasons for delaying the procedural “cleansing”. Kiev is deliberately blocking the most important humanitarian topic, hoping to receive political dividends. I emphasize that the DPR, for its part, is ready to conduct an exchange any day. For this we do not need to wait for a special occasion – Easter, New Year or Christmas. The main condition is that Kiev must fulfil a procedural “cleansing” of the participants of the exchanges in 2019 and 2020. In this case, the previous exchanges will be completed, and we can move on to the next stages of the procedure,” emphasized Morozova.

It should be remembered that the last time a prisoner exchange in Donbass took place in April 2020. The DPR transferred nine people to Ukraine and received 10. At the same time, in two years, 2019-2020, 71 detainees were extradited to the Republic, but Kiev, as DPR repeatedly stated, ignored the procedure for the procedural cleansing of 50 released persons: it did not withdraw the charges from them and did not terminate their criminal prosecution.

Source: ДАН