Ukraine forced prisoners of war to refuse to be exchanged – Daria Morozova

Comments and statements of the Ombudsman News

Negotiations on the exchange of prisoners are constantly delayed due to disagreements with the Ukrainian side over the “all for all” formula. The DPR Human Rights Ombudsman Daria Morozova told about it in an exclusive interview with the correspondent of the official website of the Donetsk People’s Republic.

“In the course of discussions, we faced the problem: it is quite difficult to give an accurate definition of the “all for all” formula, namely to define who exactly  is to be included to this category? We managed to agree on verification in order to finally establish this number. At one of the meetings, the Ukrainian side stated that there are people, who refuse to be exchanged. I believe there are some. Mostly, they are people who have already been released or whose sentence is coming to an end. Although, there are people who were forced to write a letter of refusal”, – she noted.

Speaking about the categories of detained persons, Daria Morozova reported that 96 of those, who refused, are currently held in penitentiary institutions of Ukraine: “About 50 of them were sentenced for serious terms, and there are no reasons for them to refuse the exchange. Therefore, we appealed to the UN representatives who proposed a verification “roadmap”. At the same time, we began to develop alternative options, the most acceptable one is the participation of relatives in the verification process. We sent these proposals to the Ukrainian side with a demand to ensure security, they accepted it, so an agreement was reached on participation of the SSU representatives and the Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman of Ukraine in the procedure”.

According to the Ombudsman, special attention must be paid to the list of 255 people who are already at large. “The list includes people who expressed their wish to return but they are not allowed to leave the borders of Ukraine – they are kind of hostages,” the Ombudsman stressed.

Daria Morozova has also said that the Ukrainian side deliberately impedes agreements on verification process: “On the eve of the Easter holidays, a letter came from Tony Frisch that Irina Gerashchenko suggested that the OSCE representatives be included into a group, which would carry out verification. And we could not resolve this issue until Tuesday, the day scheduled for verification. After that the representatives of the Security Service of Ukraine simply left Kramatorsk. So, the blame for failure of the verification completely rests with Kiev”.

Source: Официальный сайт Донецкой Народной Республики