Statement of Daria Morozova on the results of videoconference

Comments and statements of the Ombudsman News

Today, a videoconference of the humanitarian subgroup took place. Unfortunately, the negotiators didn’t agree on the exchange date. We asked the Ukrainian side about it more than 20 times, but they kept avoiding the questions.

Representatives of Ukraine claim that detainees refuse to participate in the exchange. Besides, now we are going to carry out another verification, on which the Ukrainian side insists. I would like to remind that verification procedure was finished in August, and all parties agreed to its results. Now Ukrainian representatives offer us lists with varying figures, asserting that people are refusing from participation in the exchange, however, we have another data. Detainees call us and confirm that they do want to participate in the exchange. I suggested holding the verification directly on the contact line, during the exchange, so as people could tell their decision on the contact line. The Ukrainian side categorically rejected this proposal.

I would like to stress once again that the Donetsk People’s Republic is ready for the exchange, we can hold it any time. Unfortunately, we cannot agree on the exchange date due to the fault of the Ukrainian side. I hope that the Ukrainian side would handle their legal issues. The humanitarian subgroup is going to hold another videoconference on Friday, providing that Mr. Medvedchuk, responsible for the exchange, will be present. Unfortunately, today he was absent. Reasoning given by SSU experts doesn’t suit us. The decision to release detainees was made on the highest level. Also, exact figures have been discussed – 306 for 74.

However, now the Ukrainian side submits lists with fewer people included, than it has been agreed. I remind you that we didn’t change the figure 74, it has been freezed in both Donetsk and Lugansk. The Ukrainian side submits the lists of persons who are allegedly released and already enjoy the freedom of movement. This information doesn’t match up with things that our guys tell us during telephone conversations. Again, our guys often call us and tell that Ukrainian special services make them sign papers to change the preventive measures to home arrest. However, people with such a procedural status will become wanted again if they cross the contact line, another criminal proceeding will be initiated. That is why we demanded that the Ukrainian side provides us information on all persons in tabular format, specifying a document that testifies a detainee’s clean record (Court Decision, Act of Pardon) before the exchange. I hope that the Ukrainian side handles all obstacles, and that the expected exchange under the format 306 for 74 will be carried out before the New Year.