The government of Ukraine seems to have little interest in holding another exchange of detained persons with the self-proclaimed people’s republics of Donetsk and Lugansk (DPR and LPR), envoys said.
Trilateral Contact Group’s subgroups on security and economic issues, as well as on humanitarian and political matters, convened via a video linkup on Tuesday.
"The destructive stance, which Kiev negotiators have once again demonstrated, allows for only one conclusion: Ukraine is not interested in holding new swaps," DPR envoy to the humanitarian subgroup Darya Morozova said.
In her words, Kiev suggested exchanging information on detained persons on Tuesday, but has been refusing to provide this information on DPR’s request since March, TASS reports.
"Kiev negotiator Galina Tretyakova raised the issue of exchanging information about detained persons. Moreover, she described this process as a ‘minor step,’ posing no difficulties for all sides," the Donetsk News Agency quoted Morozova as saying.
She went on to say that this proposal looks "particularly absurd given the fact that Kiev has not yet responded to a request about the status and location of persons submitted by DPR in March 2020."
According to Morozova, DPR put forward an initiative of creating a single database for the search of individuals who went missing during the hostilities in Donbass.
"Creating and launching a mechanism of this kind is extremely important for all sides of the conflict. It will help to intensify and coordinate activities aimed at locating missing persons and identifying bodies."
DPR voiced this initiative in Minsk before. "At that point, Ukraine accepted our proposals and undertook the commitment of preparing its own vision of how the process should be put into practice. However, there has been no response from Kiev representatives to date."
A similar opinion was voiced by Olga Kobtseva, the LPR representative to the humanitarian subgroup.
"The Ukrainian side refused to make any comments on the release of detained persons," she was quoted as saying by Luganskinformtsentr. "Ukraine insists that we provide lists of individuals whom we are ready to release. However, in order to do this, you should provide us with the information about people held on the territory of Ukraine. This has not been done since January."
Earlier, Kobtseva accused the Ukrainian side of blocking the effort by holding back the process of judicial clearance procedures for the people to be swapped.
The exchange of persons held by either party to the Donbass conflict is one of the main items of the Minsk Accords. Under the agreed arrangement, all are to be exchanged for all. Commitment to this principle was confirmed at the December 2019 Paris summit of the Normandy Quartet (France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine). On December 29, the first large exchange of prisoners took place between the Donetsk and Lugansk republics, on the one hand, and Ukraine on the other. The self-proclaimed republics released 76 people, and Kiev - 124. Another exchange took place on April 16, 2020. Kiev then released 14 people and received 20. However, the issue of the all-for-all exchange remains unsolved to date.