With the view to elaborate effective solutions for peaceful settlement within the framework of Minsk negotiations, Working Groups were created. Currently, due to systematic failure of the Ukrainian representatives to attend the meetings, the Humanitarian Subgroup cannot fulfil its functions.
In particular, the Humanitarian Subgroup Coordinator Tony Frisch underlined the importance of Mr. Medvedchuk being present to make the negotiation process more productive.
For our part, we reaffirmed our willingness to continue efforts to fulfil all issues of the agenda, namely:
- holding the second stage of the exchange under “all confirmed for all confirmed” format;
- returning documents to and establishing legal status of persons released earlier from Ukrainian prisons;
- adopting a Declaration condemning all forms of torture, ill-treatment, sexual violence and threats of violence against persons detained in connection with the conflict;
- organising a joint search of missing persons;
- transfer of persons convicted before the conflict, who wished to continue to serve their prison sentence in the territory of Ukraine.
We asked Mr. Frisch to convey our position at the meeting of the Contact Group and to urge Ukrainian authorities that their plenipotentiary representatives attend the meetings, not just experts whose competence does not include decision making.
That being said, I would like to stress that we haven’t received any written position with regard to issues of the agenda from the Ukrainian side.
At the meeting, Mr. Frisch told about his visit to prisoners held in Kiev. He was unpleasantly surprised by the fact that Ukrainian authorities did not allow him to a number of individuals detained in penitentiary institutions of Ukraine, which cast doubt on the allegedly law-based character of the Ukrainian state.
For their part, Ukrainian representatives claimed that the Coordinator was unable to visit all persons in the Republics that they had demanded. In response, Tony Frisch noted that the number of detainees in Ukraine is five times bigger than that in the Republics. Consequently, Kiev must give access to five people detained in Ukraine per each person visited in the DPR and LPR.
Also, the issue of transfer of persons convicted before the conflict, who wished to continue to serve their prison sentence in the territory of Ukraine was raised. We once again clearly stated that the mechanism has long been elaborated, so, if Ukraine had kept to the established procedure, the transfer of convicts would have been performed a long ago.
I would like to highlight that the Donetsk People’s Republic is ready to fulfil its commitments in full. To achieve visible results, however, the willingness of the other party to the conflict is needed. One political decision of the Ukrainian government would be enough to let us move things forward.