Kuchma’s press secretary: Separatists refuse to negotiate on prisoner exchange

In the framework of the meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group in Minsk, separatist representatives from the self-proclaimed Republics of the Donbas refuse to hold negotiations regarding the release of prisoners. This was reported on the Facebook page of Darka Olifer, the press-secretary of the Ukrainian representative in the Trilateral Contact Group, Leonid Kuchma, regarding the settlement of the conflict in the Donbas.

According to Olifer, representatives from the so-called DPR and LPR “refuse to discuss the issue” and “do not provide information about the location of most of our citizens.”

Olifer noted that humanitarian OSCE subgroup coordinator Toni Frisch was not allowed access to prisoners in the occupied territory.

“At the same time, in the territory that is controlled by Kiev, experts from international organizations may visit any pre-trial detention facilities and talk to those who violated Ukrainian legislation,” a representative of Kuchma stated, stressing that such a state of affairs in humanitarian issues should not be ignored by the leaders of the “Normandy Four.”

Olifer also said that, during the negotiations in Minsk, Ukraine expressed concern about systematic attacks by separatists against drones from OSCE SMM. “Just this week, as a result of the shelling, one drone was shot down and two damaged. Such attacks on drones have explanations; they collect information about the location of military equipment and these data confirm violations of the Minsk Agreements by representatives from certain districts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions,” she stated.

She also noted that fighting makes it impossible to restore infrastructure destroyed by the war in the Donbas. “It was discussed at the economic subgroup session. We have to repair facilities again which had been rebuilt earlier, like the railway between Mykytivka and Mayorsk. The repairs can only start after the removal of landmines,” Olifer added.

The armed conflict between the Ukrainian Armed Forces and fighters from the self-proclaimed Republics of the Donbas began in April 2014. According to UN data, the conflict in eastern Ukraine has resulted in the deaths of 9,449 people, of which approximately 2,000 were civilians. In addition to this, 21,843 people have been injured.

  Ukraine, Donbas, Prisoners, Minsk agreements, OSCE