The Contact Group on settling the situation in eastern Ukraine has discussed the preliminary results of the prisoner verification process, OSCE Special Representative to the Contact Group Martin Sajdik said on Monday following the group’s meeting.
“I have good news. Today, the humanitarian subgroup managed for the first time to thoroughly discuss the preliminary results of the efforts aimed at implementing the prisoner verification mechanism launched on April 28. It applies to more than 100 people,” Sajdik said.
The OSCE special representative thanked all those taking part in the process, including representatives of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR, LPR) and of the Kiev authorities, particularly Ukrainian Human Rights Ombudsperson Valeria Lutkovskaya who attended Monday’s meeting, as well as the OSCE personnel.
“This mechanism is aimed at confirming the wishes of those who are imprisoned or were imprisoned during the conflict, concerning their participation in the future prisoner exchanges,” Sajdik elaborated. According to him, there is a large number of people who do not wish to be handed over to the other side and take part in the prisoner exchange. “These are the people that we need to survey,” he said.
Sajdik stressed that the group launching the verification process had traveled almost all of Ukraine within a short period of time. A number of issues still remain unsolved, he added without going into detail.
When asked when prisoners could be released, Sajdik said that he could not announce the timeframe of the “big exchange.” “But what is happening now is paving the way for the future big exchange,” he pointed out.