11:48 22.10.2015

Ukraine accuses militants linking prisoner swap to amnesty in Donbas of thwarting Minsk agreements

3 min read
Ukraine accuses militants linking prisoner swap to amnesty in Donbas of thwarting Minsk agreements

Kyiv has called unacceptable the 'all for all' prisoner swap terms proposed by the Donbas militants, which wants Ukraine to declare an amnesty for participants in the conflict in eastern Ukraine first.

This is an attempt of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics to thwart the fulfillment of the Minsk agreements, Ukrainian representative to the humanitarian subgroup of the Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine, Verkhovna Rada deputy Iryna Heraschenko has said.

The DPR said on Wednesday that the Ukrainian declaration of an amnesty for all participants in the Donbas conflict was the main condition of the 'all for all' prisoner swap.

"According to our understanding, the 'all for all' prisoner swap is possible only after an amnesty law is passed and takes effect in Ukraine, no earlier than that," DPR ombudsperson Darya Morozova told Interfax.

In her words, Donetsk is not sharing the approach of Kyiv which links the exchange to concrete dates.

"These are the days visualized by Kyiv, which are strictly their point of view," Morozova said, commenting on the statement of Heraschenko that the militia must free all prisoners by the end of the year.

Heraschenko accused the militants of blackmail in the resolution of the hostage release problem in a statement made on her Facebook page on Thursday.

"In fact, they have publicly assumed responsibility for thwarting the fulfillment of the Minsk agreements by linking two totally different items and questions. They are trying to link the release of our heroes to the amnesty," Heraschenko wrote.

There is another problem: "they are trying to artificially reduce the number of held hostages and are turning the release question into indecent bargaining," she said.

"I think that, in the first turn, all speculations of those who were shouting and trying to criticize the Minsk group, the Security Service of Ukraine, the Ukrainian authorities and our entire difficult negotiations should now disappear," Heraschenko wrote.

"What is our stand? Firstly, the unconditional release of all hostages – this is a mandatory provision of the Minsk agreements which should have been fulfilled long ago. Our heroes are being illegally held in 'LPR-DPR' basements," the deputy said.

"The responsibility for this public statement on thwarting the Minsk agreements" now fully rests on the militants and those who are backing them, she said.

"And we will use every available method to put pressure and to demand that the Minsk agreements be fulfilled in the part of the release of hostages," the Ukrainian representative to the humanitarian subgroup wrote.

"The amnesty is a totally different item of the Minsk agreements" and it may take effect only after law is restored in territories controlled by the militants, Heraschenko said.