During the last meeting in Minsk, we raised the issue of returning documents to persons released from Ukrainian captivity. Currently, there are 126 people to whom the Ukrainian side refuses to return documents, despite the fact that the exchange transpired a long ago. The staff the Security Service of Ukraine admits that criminal proceedings have been opened to more than 70 people out of 126 persons. At the same time, he suggests that they personally come to the territory of Ukraine to take their documents. Thus, the proposal of the SSU staff contradicts Minsk agreements as well as common sense.
The question remains, why representatives of the Ukrainian side refer to legislation. As part of previous exchanges they handed over to us people accused of gravest crimes by Ukraine. There was a gesture of goodwill, which representatives of official Kiev often like to recall. They handed over 15 people, 9 of whom were women. Two of the released were handed over to us without documents, despite the fact that they were all charged with gravest crimes.
To date, the Ukrainian side refuses to return 11 people who are accused of gravest crimes. Among them there are 2 women. Kozlova, born in 1995, is one of them. She and her baby are in Ukrainian captivity. The girl was captured as a result of illegal actions by Ukrainian servicemen. She was in self-defence, but nonetheless, representatives of official Kiev, responding to our official requests, incriminate her: “By threatening to kill an underage person, by blowing up a grenade, she made to give her a lift to the city centre, where, in “Niva” automobile, she made an explosion, killing 2 people. Kozlova was also injured,” which is not true. Nevertheless, the Ukrainian side insists that the decision taken by the Ukrainian court “cannot be wrong”.
Official Kiev deliberately does everything possible to delay the exchange in order to blame Donetsk for this. However, through the five months of negotiations, we managed to achieve some success. To date, representatives of Ukraine are ready to release 203 people. Earlier, this figure was 156 people.
We are waiting for reciprocal steps from Ukrainian representatives in Minsk. I call on the Ukrainian side to stop dividing people into categories and include 11 persons accused of gravest crimes and the so-called “non-ATO” category in the exchange list, then a long-awaited exchange will take place. I also note that 80% of Ukrainian prisoners are accused of gravest crimes, but we do not divide people into lists and categories. From the side of the Donetsk People’s Republic, criminal cases of all those released and handed over to the Ukrainian side, have been closed.
I would like to remind that neither categorizing nor division of people based on charges is prescribed in Minsk Agreements. There is one requirement: to exchange “all for all”.