Kiev was not ready to discuss the prisoner swap issue at the meeting of the Contact Group for the settlement in eastern Ukraine, Human Rights Commissioner of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) Daria Morozova reported on Wednesday.
"Unfortunately, Kiev's interim envoy was present at today’s meeting, who was not ready to hold the subgroup’s session and was unable to present the necessary information on the stage of the procedural decisions," the statement published on Morozova's official website informs. "For the same reason, we were unable to discuss other items on the agenda," TASS reports.
"I would like to recall that we’re not just talking about numbers 102 and 50 — each number is a living person who was given hope for the upcoming exchange. These people have families — children, spouses, parents — who also hope to reunite with their loved ones soon. This is why I urge not to dash their hopes and to follow the agreements reached earlier," Morozova added.
The last large-scale exchange of detainees between Ukraine and Donbass took place in December 2017. Back then, Kiev exchanged 233 prisoners for 73 detained Ukrainian citizens. The parties underlined that the release of prisoners was not over and they would make every effort to continue this process. However, since then, the parties were failing to reach new agreements on mutual release and exchange of prisoners.
The deadlock was broken at a meeting of the Contact Group for the settlement in Ukraine on July 17, when the parties in the conflict coordinated the prisoner swap procedure, agreeing to exchange 208 representatives of the DPR and LPR for 69 Ukrainian military. Fifty of them are held by the DPR, and another 19 — by the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR). It is expected that the procedural measures aimed to exchange the prisoners would take up to six weeks.