Comment of the Ombudsman on the recent statement of the SSU representative

Comments and statements of the Ombudsman News


Recently, I became aware of the statement of the SSU chairman, which refers to conditions of imprisonment of Ukrainian servicemen on the territory of our state. First of all, I would like to recommend to the Head of such a high-level Department to only make statements, based at reliable facts and evidence. Although the tactics of making loud statements based on unconfirmed and unfounded information are not only typical for the Head of the Department, but also for his subordinates, advisers in particular.

The statement says about the pits, where are allegedly kept Ukrainian servicemen. I want to remind the Ukrainian side of the recent visit of representatives of such an authoritative international organization as the United Nations, who not only saw the conditions of detention of Ukrainian prisoners, but also communicated with them, and handed over letters to the relatives of the detainees. I want to note that the relatives of these detainees have already phoned us. They were thankful for the letters they received from their sons through UN representatives. Now, I want to ask Ukrainian opponents about the conditions of detention of our prisoners. Even the UN Committee for the Prevention of Torture was not allowed to the secret prisons of the SSU and was forced to suspend its visit to Ukraine. I note that the Ukrainian authorities, under international pressure, were forced to release 13 people from one of these prisons, but I am aware of five more illegally detained, kept there. I recommend that the SSU show humanism and release them unilaterally.

I also want to note that the official was present at the procedure of exchanging prisoners many times, so he knows for sure how bad our men look after being kept by the Ukrainian side. I am ready to remind him how he resented that our captives were mistreated, but at the same time he was proud that they released those people. I consider it to be the height of cynicism to appeal to humanity of our leader, Alexander Zakharchenko, who repeatedly returned sons to Ukrainian mothers as unilateral acts of goodwill. For two and a half years we didn’t see any similar steps from Ukrainian authorities. Either we did not see any humane attitude towards our men and their families, and also the desire to compromise on the issue of the exchange of prisoners.

I am outraged by the fact that the Ukrainian side is manipulating the lists of prisoners, this is beyond the pale. So, the authorized representatives of official Kiev deny keeping about 300 of our guys. Without any access to the territory of Ukraine, being here in Donetsk, we have already found and confirmed information about more than 40 of them. And all of them really are on the territory of Ukraine kept in on the premises of the SSU and remand prisons, but for some reason the Ukrainian side prefers to be silent about it and not to confirm it officially.

The so-called Ukrainian experts have repeatedly made loud statements about their readiness to perform exchange through “all for all” formula, but I want to emphasize that there was no official document, confirming this. Without any official confirmation those loud statements are simply the ground for PR-campaigns, sometimes black. Probably, that’s all Ukrainian representatives in Minsk are capable of.

Once again I officially declare that 42 Ukrainian serviceman are detained in our territory. Five more are kept in the Lugansk People’s Republic. We are ready to fulfill our obligations and exchange prisoners under the formula that we proposed in September 21 in our subgroup, having provided a written proposal within 15 minutes.

Secondly, I would like to recommend to the head of the SSU to take a fair look at the information about 3082 persons who were allegedly released by Ukraine from our prisons. How is it possible, if I organized and performed 25 exchanges since the start of the conflict, when our party bilaterally handed over 629 people to the Ukrainian side, and 614 our men were released from captivity. By this figure the Ukrainian side officially confirms that there were entrapments, previously concealed. There was also a bewildering statement about torture chambers in Donetsk. The list published by the Security Service of Ukraine included the building located at the address 7b, Pushkina Blvd. This is an administrative building, like many others from the list, where it is impossible a priori to make torture chambers.


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