The ombudswoman of the Donetsk People’s Republic said Monday that the Kiev authorities lack “political will” to conduct an all-for all prisoner exchange with self-proclaimed republics of eastern Ukraine.
Kiev has failed to confirm its willingness to carry out an all-for all prisoner exchange with the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR), DPR’s ombudswoman Daria Morozova said Monday.
“Kiev is deliberately evading fulfilling the earlier agreement on exchanging prisoners in accordance with the ‘all identified prisoners for all identified prisoners’ formula. Despite our constructive position, the Ukrainian side has not confirmed its readiness to launch exchange and has once again demonstrated lack of political will,” Morozova said, commenting on the results of the humanitarian subgroup of the video conference of the Trilateral Contact Group on Donbas settlement.
The ombudswoman also told reporters that DPR had handed the list of prisoners DPR sought to return to the sub group’s OSCE coordinator Toni Frisch.
According to earlier reports, Frisch plans to visit prisoners on the territory controlled by DPR and LNR in August.
“I asked the humanitarian subgroup [OSCE] coordinator to visit women who are being exposed to daily tortures in Ukrainian prisons. Mister Frisch confirmed his intention to go and inspect the confinement conditions of the people who are being held at remand prisons in the [Ukrainian] cities of Mariupol and Artemovsk,” Morozova said.
The human rights watchdog also claimed that the Ukrainian side continued to manipulate the prisoners’ lists by putting together DPR and LPR prisoners thus understating their total number.
The Trilateral Contact Group on the settlement of the Ukrainian crisis, with representatives from Ukraine, Russia and the OSCE, was set up in 2014 to promote direct dialogue between Ukraine’s conflicting parties. The Contact Group has a number of subgroups, including the humanitarian one.
In February 2015, the parties to the Ukrainian conflict signed the Minsk peace accords to end the fighting in the crisis-torn region. The ceasefire deal stipulated an all-for-all prisoner exchange, among other issues.
A violent military conflict in Ukraine started in 2014 after the residents of the eastern Donbass region refused to recognize the new Ukrainian government that came to power in what they perceived to be a coup.