An Adviser to the Chairman of the Security Service of Ukraine (SSU), Yuri Tandit, stated that illegally armed groups hold about 140 Ukrainian citizens as prisoners, and the SSU has found the exact location of 57 of them. “We know the exact location of 57 people. We have seen traces of others, there are almost 140 hostages in Ukraine. We hope that Russia, as a participant of the Minsk Agreements, will do everything in its power to accelerate the exchange of prisoners,” Yuri Tandit said.
Tandit hopes that Russian authorities will make the decision on the exchange of prisoners between Ukraine and the militants in Donbas after the Christmas holidays. “The group of negotiators that worked in Minsk has done all it can do. We do not want to announce a possible release any time in the near future. We hope that a decision on the release of hostages is made by the Kremlin and that the Russian Federation will finally make this move as a sign of good will,” the Adviser to the SSU Chairman said.
Tandit stressed that Ukraine is open to dialogue and, most importantly, Ukraine is ready to take released prisoners immediately. As Obozrevatel previously reported, the President’s envoy for the peaceful settlement of the Donbas conflict, Iryna Herashchenko, reported that 140 Ukrainian fighters and civilians are in captivity. 741 people are still considered missing.
Tandit stated that Ukrainian prisoners who are held in the territories of Donetsk and Lugansk regions, which are outside the control of Kiev, are being tortured by the pro-Russian separatists.
Earlier, Tandit reported that almost 3,000 people were released from captivity. In October 2015, the Center on the Search for Missing People and Release of Prisoners was created by the Security Service of Ukraine.