The Ukrainian side is trying to show the appearance of its work, but in fact they make no progress. They neither want to release our servicemen nor to receive their men back. All statements made by the Ukrainian side are nothing more than a publicity stunt.
Since the last meeting of our subgroup, the Ukrainian side has not added any new names to the exchange list. What has the Ukrainian side been doing for all this time? Nothing. Zero. What exactly have they done to promote the fulfillment of paragraphs 5 and 6 of the Minsk agreement in a year and a half? Nothing. Only creating the appearance of active work. Our men’s criminal cases are not closed and they are not being prepared for transfer to the territory of the Republic. Let me remind you that now the Ukrainian side confirms 610 people, but there are much more detainees according to my data, plus missing persons, who may also be in Ukrainian captivity.
At the recent meeting in Minsk we raised an important issue about the exchange of the eight sappers, who carried out a peaceful mission and were captured at the end of June. We are very concerned about the health of the men. As I’ve been informed they were first taken to the airport in Mariupol, where they were tortured, and then transferred to the Mariupol remand prison. I have already asked the ICRC and the United Nations to visit them. The Ukrainian side offered to transfer the sappers to our territory. Of course, we are ready to accept them. But what about another 602 people officially declared? And each time we hear the same answer: Ukraine is a law-governed state; criminal proceedings to the men have been initiated and in progress. These double standards are the Ukrainian manner of fulfilling their obligations. What makes these eight different from the others? Maybe they are not prosecuted? If so, then they are illegally detained by the Ukrainian law enforcement agencies, and what law-governed state they are talking about? Since the amnesty law is not adopted, and Ukraine is ready to make an exception for eight people, it means that it can make an exception for all others officially declared and perform the long-awaited exchange “all for all”.
The issue of organizing the so-called Family Day, when relatives of detained persons could visit them, was also under discussion. I would like to stress that the DPR authorities have never been against the visits of relatives to detained battalion members and other servicemen and never persecuted them. In fact, the mothers of Ukrainian servicemen can visit their sons, because they are kept in one place, unlike in Ukraine. Are there any steps forward made by the Ukrainian side? Are there safety guarantees for relatives of our imprisoned supporters in Ukraine? Of course, in theory it is possible to issue electronic passes, but many relatives of detained DPR supporters are wanted in Ukraine. All our men were transferred to different penitentiary institutions and secret prisons, and the safety of relatives of the prisoners cannot even be guaranteed by the ICRC. The Ukrainian side did not give any reasonable answer to my questions.
In general, there are no positive changes in the implementation of the 5th and 6th paragraphs of the Minsk agreements. Our vision of the process is totally different. For my opinion, the main objective of humanitarian subgroup is to return our men, whereas for the Ukrainian side it is only to create the appearance of work. Perhaps for some people making highlight declarations and organizing delivery of letters from relatives are the performance indicators, but for me the main purpose is to return all people kept by Ukraine. Once again, I remind that our task is to conduct exchanges, not delivering letters: unblock communication, fulfill the obligations undertaken, and then there will be no difficulties, especially with the delivery of letters. Be it another dishonest publicity stunt of the Ukrainian side, or another mockery of the mothers and relatives of the prisoners, I will allow neither of it.