Bezsmertny predicts possible release of prisoners in two months
Roman Bezsmertny, who was dismissed from the post of a representative Ukraine's representative in the working subgroup on political issues of the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) to resolve the situation in the east of the country, has said that at present, "the legal clearance" procedure is under way as part of TCG for exchange of prisoners, which is to complete in one month and a half or two months.
"Very difficult work on legal clearance by both sides is under way. The parties are exchanging figures on the volume of legal clearance. And there are two problems now being discussed: whether to release as the legal clearance proceeds, or later all together... I will disclose no names or numbers because it is agreed so, but such work is ongoing and I hope that with the efforts of all participants in this process it will be completed, because the latest deadline for such legal clearance, if I am not mistaken, is somewhere, in my opinion, six weeks or around, and this is almost two months," Bezsmertny said on the 24 TV Channel on Tuesday.
Asked about the prospects for the release of political prisoners in the Russian Federation and held in certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions (ORDLO), he said: "I would advise being careful with the numbers, because only those who are known are 120 in Crimea, 69 in Luhansk and Donetsk, and 24 – sailors. As for how many in Russia, we will be opening (the lists) for a long time. We know them by their last names, but we know only some part."
Bezsmertny also noted the problem of the terminology uncertainty: "War ... There are no prisoners of war, it seems. And from here everything begins – the regime of keeping in detention centers, the legal clearance regime, the court regime, and so on."
According to the diplomat, the longer "this legal uncertainty will persist, the more difficult the fate of these people will be."
He also believes that the decree of President Volodymyr Zelensky on simplifying the procedure for obtaining Ukrainian citizenship for Russians who have undergone "political persecution" is "illegal and not in accordance with the Constitution of the country."
"The president has no right to establish the procedure for acquiring citizenship or its deprivation, he can issue an act on the granting of citizenship or, if there are legal grounds for this, the deprivation of citizenship," Bezsmertny said.