As of September 2, there are 144 Ukrainians being held captive by the separatists in the Donbas, as stated by the adviser to the head of the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU), Yuri Tandit on 112 Ukraine TV.
"In recent days, unfortunately, the number has increased slightly because ordinary civilians were detained, who had no weapons and were not near the line of demarcation, and were not participants of the ATO [Anti-Terrorist Operation]. They have been accused of espionage and other crimes that they did not commit," he said.
Tandit also urged all citizens along the line of demarcation to remember the danger and beware of illegal detention by separatists. "There are curfews, Ukrainian laws do not work, and people can be detained without trial and investigation," he stressed.
The release of the captured Ukrainians remains one of the main issues on the agenda of the Contact Group in Minsk but it remains unresolved. Earlier, the representatives of the DPR and LPR agreed to exclude from the list of persons, whose release they demand, two dozen criminals unrelated to the events in the Donbas.
At the same time, the separatists continue to demand amnesty and release for another 45 people who are not connected to the conflict and who committed serious crimes: the Berkut employees [special police force] who shot the Heavenly Hundred, the organizers of the terrorist attacks in Odessa and Kharkiv.
As of July, the separatists acknowledged the detention of only 70 Ukrainians out of a total 137.