An ‘all for all’ prisoner exchange might take place in a short period of time, given the Ukrainian side has political will, Chairman of the Opposition Platform – For Life party Viktor Medvedchuk said on the Ukrainian TV channel NewsOne.
“Should Ukraine have political will, we will be able to carry out that [‘all for all’] exchange in three, four or maximum five days,” he said.
Medvedchuk added that Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko should make a decision.
“We need a political resource here which the head of state utilizes,” the politician went on to say. “None of the swaps has been held without Poroshenko. He makes the decision in Kiev, while the so-called leaders of the unrecognized territories do so in Donetsk and Lugansk.”
The politician recalled that 870 people have been released since 2014.
The all-for-all prisoner exchange is one of the key provisions of the Minsk peace deal signed in the Belarusian capital Minsk on February 12, 2015, after marathon talks between the leaders of Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine.
Since then the sides have carried out several swaps, and the largest so far took place in December 2017. Kiev handed over 233 prisoners to the Donbass republics and received 73 in return. Both parties stressed that the prisoner exchange process had not been completed and they were determined to do everything possible to continue it in 2018. However, since then, the sides have reached no agreements on prisoner swaps.
Boris Gryzlov, Russia’s envoy to the Minsk talks of the Contact Group seeking peace for eastern Ukraine, places responsibility for the disruption of prisoner swaps between the conflicting sides on Kiev.