MILAN, December 7. /TASS/. Ukraine’s unscrupulousness hinders the prisoner exchange process stipulated by the 2015 Minsk Agreements, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a Friday press conference following the OSCE Ministerial Council meeting in Italy’s Milan.
“We had successful experience last year, partially because an unexpected thing happened: prisoner lists were agreed on by Ukraine, Donetsk and Lugansk. We provided assistance in the matter, dozens and even hundreds of names were verified, counted and checked several times. And when these people were brought to the place where the exchange was planned to be carried out, Ukraine said that 23 of them could not be released as their names had been included in the lists by mistake. Such unscrupulousness does not help advance prisoner swap talks,” the Russian top diplomat said.
“We came up with an initiative to introduce a provision to the Minsk Agreements, which calls for an “all-for-all” prisoner exchange and we remain committed to that,” Lavrov pointed out. “It is just that Ukraine constantly tries to include the names of people who have nothing to do with the events in Donbass in prisoner lists,” he stressed.
The “all-for-all” prisoner exchange is one of the key features of the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements, singed in February 2015. The latest prisoner exchange took place on December 27, 2017. Kiev handed 233 prisoners to the Donbass republics and received 73 prisoners in return. Both parties stressed that the prisoner exchange process had not been completed and they were determined to do everything possible to continue it in 2018. However, the parties have so far been unable to reach any new agreements on the issue.
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