The Donetsk People’s Republic is preparing for a prisoner swap with the Ukraine regime due shortly, the republic’s ombudsperson for human and social rights, Darya Morozova, reported on January 6. “In spite of all, we are preparing a prisoner swap, expected shortly,” the Donetsk News Agency quoted her as saying.
Morozova did not specify the date and the format of the planned prisoner exchange, confirming that unlike the Lugansk People’s Republic, the DPR was not planning a unilateral gesture of goodwill to release Ukrainian prisoners. “We would have been glad to make this gesture of goodwill ahead of Christmas, but we could not,” she said, citing “strong reasons”.[Note: The Ukrainian and Russian Orthodox Churches celebrate Christmas according to the Julian calendar, on January 7.]
“I would like to note that within the past year, we returned 65 people in all on similar holidays but we saw no response from the Ukraine junta.”
Earlier on January 6, LPR leader Igor Plotnitsky said he had given instructions to release Ukrainian military prisoners in the republic ahead of Christmas.
For his part, the adviser to the chief of the Ukrainian Security Service, Yuri Tandit, said that the Ukrainian side was ready to hand prisoners over to Donbass self-defense forces within several hours. He said Ukrainian authorities knew of 57 of its military personnel held prisoner in the LPR.
The LPR envoy at the Minsk-2 Ceasefire Contact Group resolving the conflict in the Donbass region (eastern Ukraine), Vladislav Deinego, said the two republics had handed over to Kiev the lists with the names of more than 2,000 people believed to be held by the Ukrainian side. An “all for all” prisoner swap is one of the key points in the Package of Measures on implementation of the September 2014 Minsk agreements, signed in Minsk, Belarus on February 12, 2015.
Donetsk republic official says prisoner swap unlikely before year end
From TASS, Dec 24, 2015 (full text)
MOSCOW — The prisoner exchange in the “all for all” format provided by the Minsk-2 ceasefire agreement is hardly possible before the end of the year, the ombudswoman of the Donetsk People’s Republic said in a statement on December 24.
“The Ukrainian side is not ready to cease criminal proceedings and hold an amnesty nor to carry out an exchange of military prisoners in the format set in the Minsk memorandum,” Darya Morozova said. “That is why we can hardly expect an exchange of prisoners in the ‘all for all’ format happening before the New Year,” the Donetsk News Agency quoted her as saying.
Morozova also said the Ukrainian side was fully ignoring the package of measures for the implementation of the Minsk accords of February 12. “At each meeting 9of the ceasefire Contact Group] in Minsk, I am putting emphasis on a need to urgently pass a law on amnesty and stop persecutions of active participants of the events in Donbass,” Morozova said.
She also said that “about a dozen people go missing weekly on the territory controlled by the Ukrainian authorities”.
Morozova says the DPR is fully ready to implement the Minsk-2 agreements. “We are ready to meet the agreements, but taking into consideration the above facts, the date and terms of a prisoner swap as well as an amnesty depend on the Ukrainian side,” she said.
She also noted that no progress on these issues has been reached since the humanitarian sub-group was established eight months ago.
Experts say most realistic scenario of Ukraine settlement to take up to five years, analysis published on TASS, Dec 24, 2015
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