KIEV, October 13. /TASS/. Eastern Ukrainian militias still hold about 500 Ukrainian military captive, a councilor to the head of the Security Service of Ukraine told a briefing at Ukrinform news agency on Monday.
According to Markiyan Lubkovsky, prisoner swaps have been allegedly suspended by the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics. “It was not because of us that they were suspended. Our principle is all for all swaps,” he said.
Meanwhile, the breakaway republics say prisoner swaps have repeatedly failed because of the Ukrainian government.
Prisoner exchange at the rate of 14 for 14 scheduled for Monday has been postponed till October 16-17, as the Ukrainian side failed to deliver three militiamen, who are currently held at the Kharkiv commandant’s office, Tass reported.
Sources from the Defense Ministry of the Luhansk People’s Republic said preparations for the swap had continued for at least three weeks, but were constantly disrupted “because of ambitions of politicians”.
Reports about a unilateral release of Ukrainian law enforcers come on a regular basis. Earlier on Monday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko reported on his Facebook page about the release of 18 Ukrainian military held prisoner in the east of the country. Two weeks ago, the president said in Lviv that 1,342 Ukrainian law enforcers were released since a ceasefire had been agreed.
The Democratic People’s Republic commission for prisoners of war reported one of these days that the Ukrainian side had handed over only 231 people, and about 600 militias were still in captivity.
Prisoner exchange is one of the key points in agreements reached at a Minsk, Belarus, meeting of the international Contact Group on settling the Ukraine conflict.
Five exchanges have taken place so far, swapping prisoners at the rate of 37 for 37, 70 for 70, 38 for 38, 28 for 28 and 30 Ukrainian law enforcers for 60 militia personnel.