Ukraine is ready to hand over 313 people to separatists in exchange for 88 Ukrainian Ukrainian prisoners who are in captivity in the separatist-held territory of the Donbas, as stated at a briefing by the Ukrainian representative to the subgroup on humanitarian issues of the Trilateral Contact Group on the settlement of the situation in the Donbas, Iryna Herashchenko.
"We managed to establish the location 88 of our hostages out of 144. We are ready to hand over 313 people in exchange for their release, which is allowed by Ukrainian legislation regarding the uncontrolled territories, with a goal to free Ukrainians," Herashchenko said. She added that this issue was raised during the Contact Group talks on September 20th in Minsk.
Herashchenko also said that the separatists had also added to the exchange list the former Mayor of Sloviansk, Nelya Shtepa, who was released from custody on Wednesday and put under house arrest.
"However, Ms. Shtepa herself, who invited the separatists and the war to Ukrainian territory, refused categorically to participate in this exchange, because she more than anyone else knows the price of the war she called for in Ukrainian," Herashchenko said.
She also expressed concern about the investigation of the Shtepa case and called on the investigation and the court "to thoroughly investigate all cases concerning separatism."
"I have many questions as to why other mayors who called for the war in the Donbas and drove around with certain flags are still not held responsible in accordance with the law for their involvement in the separatism and split of Ukraine," Herashchenko stressed.
As part of their involvement in the Trilateral Contact group, the Ukrainian delegation declared its readiness for a compromise to release hostages in the Donbas.