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LPR envoy: Ukraine provokes disruption of Minsk agreements by delaying prisoner swaps

March 07, 2015, 22:21 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, 7 March. /TASS/. By shunning implementation of the Minsk agreements, which provide for amnesty and pardon, Ukraine provokes disruption of the package of measures on implementation of the Minsk agreements negotiated by the Contact Group on resolving the Ukraine conflict, Vladislav Deinego, the representative of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic /LPR/ at Minsk talks of the Contact Group, said on Saturday.

"The Ukrainian side has failed to show readiness for abidance to the provisions [of the Minsk agreements on prisoner exchanges] but moreover it openly ignores all efforts of the DPR and LPR to intensify the process and walls off with the help of tricks, excuses and references to partially existing or partially contrived difficulties citing judicial clearance in line with rulings passed by courts," the LuganskInformCentre news agency quoted him as saying.

Deinego recalled that the self-proclaimed republic "sent proposals to the Ukrainian side on establishing working groups as early as at the end of February".

"Silence in response, without either any explanations or excuses," he said. "Perhaps there might be only one - the Ukrainian leadership’s handlers are driving the whole country into the path of direct violation of the agreements, the guarantors of which are countries of the European Union and the Russian Federation."

"Evidently, mothballing the process has become a standard for the Ukrainian side when practical steps on its part are expected but otherwise a strategy of direct mishandling and disruption of the agreements had been chosen," he said.

Earlier in the day, the official representative of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) at the Contact Group on peaceful settlement of the Ukraine crisis, Denis Pushilin, said that Ukrainian military were holding captive about 3,000 people, mainly randomly picked individuals.

"The date is nearing when ‘all-for-all’ exchanges have to be completed, but we can see it has not happened," Pushilin said. "According to our data, over 3,000 people are being held captive by the Ukrainian military. There are lots of civilians there who turned out to be just loyal to the DPR or supported the republic in social networks."

Pushilin said the Ukrainian side refused to release the prisoners alleging as the reason that court rulings on their confinement had come into effect.

"However, it is not a reason for us," he said adding that "Ukraine put its signature under the Minsk agreements and has to abide by them."

On February 12 marathon talks between the Normandy Four leaders - Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko - in Minsk yielded a package of agreements, which in particular envisaged ceasefire between the Ukrainian conflicting sides starting from midnight on February 15.

Simultaneously, the Belarusian capital hosted a meeting of the Contact Group on Ukraine involving Ukraine’s ex-president Leonid Kuchma, Kiev’s special representative for humanitarian issues Viktor Medvedchuk, the leaders of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR) Alexander Zakharchenko and Igor Plotnitsky, and Russia’s ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov and OSCE’s envoy Heidi Tagliavini, both acting as mediators.

As a result, a package of measures was adopted to implement the Minsk agreements.

A separate point of the document provides for release and exchange of all prisoners of war and illegally held persons on the "all for all" principle that should be completed after the weapons withdrawal - on the fifth day at the latest. The sides also agreed on restoring the Ukrainian side’s control over the state border throughout the conflict zone.

Another point of the document provides for withdrawal of all foreign armed groups and mercenaries from Ukraine’s territory under OSCE supervision; all illegal armed groups shall be disarmed.

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