Ukrainian side rejects proposal to exchange prisoners on “all for all” basis in negotiations in Minsk
On May 30, a regular meeting of the Contact Group on the peaceful settlement of the conflict in Donbass took place in the capital of the Republic of Belarus. The agenda contained items concerning the implementation of the cease-fire, implementation of a framework decision on the separation of forces and means, resolution of the situation around the Donetsk water filtration plant, preparations for prisoner exchange and so on.
According to a source at the peaceful negotiations in Minsk, the representatives of the People’s Republics could not receive a positive response from the Ukrainian side to the proposal to exchange all identified persons held in places of detention in the territory of Ukraine.
ʺIn addition, we did not find understanding on the signing by the parties of a declaration on the prohibition of torture of prisoners.
It should be reminded that the Ukrainian side has found reasons not to negotiate the text of declaratory statement, in which the parties of the conflict commit to ensure decent living conditions to prisoners, as well as the provision of medical assistance to them.
Unfortunately, the delay in the negotiation process in the subgroup on humanitarian issues is due primarily to the constant absence of negotiators from the Ukrainian side, who have the power to make decisions and engage in dialogue. Thus, the representative of Ukraine in the subgroup on humanitarian issues Irina Gerashchenko has been present three times since January 2018. However, she makes heartbreaking publications on social media and media platforms on an incredibly regular basis. The Ukrainian side is represented by so-called experts who are simply not vested with authority by the Ukrainian government in order to carry out the negotiation process. It is difficult to talk about any progress in such important matter for Republics as the prisoner exchange or search for missing persons,ʺ a source said.
Also, according to a source, the Contact Group continued its work on a road map of activities to maintain Vodafone mobile network in the territory of DPR and LPR, which had been proposed by the Republics at the previous meeting.
ʺThe representative of mobile network were positive about the most of the road map’s items and expressed their agreement to cooperate. We are now waiting for a written position on each of the items to launch agreed elements of recovery and maintenance,ʺ a source said.
It added that security issues remained to be the most important in the agenda of the Contact Group, but Ukraine’s destructive stance does not allow us to start looking for a reasonable solution.
ʺThe dynamics of violations of the cease-fire, which are documented in the daily reports of the OSCE SMM and statistics of the DPR Representative Office in the Joint Center on Control and Coordination, is particularly worrying. 251 violations of cease-fire regime by the AFU were recorded in the direction of Gorlovka from 16 to 25 May. Four civilians were killed and nine were injured, 2 building construction were destroyed and 56 were damaged, as well as 5 infrastructure facilities. In discussing this issue, the DPR Plenipotentiary Representative Denis Pushilin places greater focus of the Contact Group on the need to refine and support additional measures to control the cease-fire regime by the parties.
A significant part of today’s meeting was devoted to the settlement of the situation in the area of the Donetsk water filtration plant. Unfortunately, the non-constructive position of the Ukrainian side did not allow to reach agreement on necessary measures to stabilize the situation both on this site and on the whole line of contact, including the sites of the separation of forces and means in Petrovskoye, Zolotoye and Stanitsa Luganskaya,ʺ a source summed up.