“Ukraine turns meeting of humanitarian subgroup into groundhog day”, – comment from Daria Morozova on outcomes of regular round of negotiations of work group on humanitarian issues

Comments and statements of the Ombudsman News

Today, the regular round of negotiations of the humanitarian group of the Contact group was held through videoconference. The agenda included issues connected with the work of check-points on the Contact line and the exchanges of persons detained because of the conflict in Donbas.

In particular, the key topic of the procedural “cleansing” of 50 citizens that were transferred to the territory of the DPR during the exchanges in December 2019 and April 2020 was being discussed. Kiev still avoids fulfilling its obligations and doesn’t provide any information about the outcomes of work on this issue.

Honestly, meetings of the humanitarian subgroup are turned into the groundhog day because of this Kiev position. In the course of these meetings we ask the same question to our opponents: “What’s about the procedural “cleansing”? In response, Kiev has told us the same story for one year. We are told that requests and materials in respect of 10 persons, on whom the commission on the power of pardon under the president of Ukraine made positive decisions, are in the President’s office and waiting for his signature.

Let me know, how long it takes Mr Zelensky to sign finally these documents and thereby start fulfilling obligations on the procedural “cleansing”? Today this question was asked also by the coordinator of the OSCE.

At the same time, it is absolutely clear that there is not only one thing to pardon mentioned 10 persons, namely the political will of the Ukrainian authority. However, nothing prevents Kiev to complete the procedural actions regarding other persons in the near future. For this, Ukraine has only to use the mechanism of the procedural “cleansing” that was agreed by the participants of the humanitarian subgroup on the eve of the exchanges that took place. Moreover, this mechanism was proposed by the Kiev negotiators. Or Kiev should draw the alternative legal mechanism for the implementation of this procedure.

One more time I want to highlight that until Ukraine will not fully fulfill its obligations on the procedural “cleansing”, the exchanges of 2019 and 2020 ears will not be considered as completed. This, in turn, prevents any progress in the discussion of the next phases of the exchange.