Official Kiev deliberately ignores issue of prisoner exchange – Olga Makeeva


 On July 26, in the programme “Glavny vopros” (the main question) on the Cometa radio 98.6 FM, a live broadcast was held with the participation of the Deputy Chairman of the DPR People’s Council Olga Makeeva and a well-known Donetsk journalist Elena Blokha. The main subject discussed was Ukraine’s failure to fulfil obligations to exchange illegally detained persons.

During the live broadcast, Olga Makeeva spoke about the facts testifying to the complete unwillingness of the Ukrainian authorities to resolve the issue of the exchange of prisoners of war, political prisoners and illegally detained civilians who are irrelevant to the armed conflict. “Unfortunately, paragraph 6 of the Package of Measures, as well as the other paragraphs, is not implemented by Ukraine at all. And I have to admit the fact that for many months we have not made a single step forward in resolving the issue of the exchange of prisoners. Official Kiev demonstratively ignores the issue. Moreover, at the last meeting of the Contact Group, when the issue of missing persons was discussed, the Ukrainian side was not present at all,” said the Vice Speaker of the People’s Council of the DPR.

In turn, Elena Blokha, who was illegally detained by Ukrainian security forces in 2014 and kept in custody for almost 3 months, spoke about the horrible detention conditions and full non-compliance by Ukraine with the requirements of international human rights instruments: “I personally saw the conditions in which our people are kept in the territory of Ukraine. After being detained in 2014, I was transferred to the Mariupol Airport, where ordinary civilians, severely beaten, were kept in utility rooms. Then, already in Kiev, I was kept in the SBU pre-trial detention centre, in which no prisoners were registered at all. The same situation was in Kharkov. Therefore, we cannot say for sure how many people are held by the Ukrainian side, they may not be registered anywhere at all. ”

Nevertheless, despite the gross violations by the Ukrainian side of all international and ethical norms and the legislation, the Donetsk People’s Republic is at any time ready to exchange Ukrainian prisoners of war according to the “all for all” formula provided for by the Minsk agreements. “All prisoners of war who are on the territory of the DPR were detained on the battlefield with weapons in their hands. All these people are kept in one place, we know for sure how many of them there are and allow relatives to them,” Olga Makeeva explained.