KIEV, December 8. /TASS/. Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Pavel Klimkin said on Friday his yesterday’s meeting with Russian top diplomat Sergey Lavrov in Vienna was unique.
"It was a unique meeting dedicated exclusively to exchange [of prisoners]. We used a brief meeting in the context on the OSCE ministerial forum. I don’t plan further meetings [with Lavrov] in the near future," he said in an interview with 112.Ukrainia television channel.
According to Klimkin, the topic of possible deployment of a United Nations mission in Donbass was briefly touched upon at the meeting with Lavrov. "We touched upon, but very briefly, prospects for a peacekeeping mission. Differences are fundamental," he said, adding that it was just "an exchange of opinion."
Earlier on Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a news conference after the OSCE Ministerial Council meeting that it had been agreed that advisers to the Normandy Four (Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine) leaders would meet in Minsk on December 9 to discuss the issue of the lists of prisoners to be exchanges by Kiev and the Donbass republics.
In mid-November, Russian President Vladimir Putin held a meeting with Viktor Medvedchuk, the leader of the Ukrainian Choice public movement and Kiev’s representative to the humanitarian subgroup of the Contact Group on resolving the crisis in eastern Ukraine, who asked the Russian leader to support his initiative concerning the prisoner swap. According to Medvedchuk, Ukraine is ready to release 306 people and expects Donetsk and Lugansk to release 74 people before the holiday season.
Later, Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov said Putin had spoken over the phone with the leaders of the Donetsk and Lugansk republics who supported the idea in general. After that, Kiev said it was ready to carry out prisoner swap before the New Year holidays but would need some time to organize the procedure.
Prisoner exchanges in the all-for-all format is one of the key provisions of the Package of Measures on the implementation of the Minsk agreements that was signed in the Belarusian capital Minsk on February 12 after marathon talks between the leaders of Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine.
Apart from that, the 13-point Package of Measures on implementation of the September 2014 Minsk agreements, known as Minsk-2, in particular included an agreement on cessation of fire from February 15, withdrawal of heavy armaments, as well as measures on long-term political settlement of the situation in Ukraine, including establishment of working subgroups as priority tasks.