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‘Great exchange’? Swap in Donbass dragged out due to Kiev’s legal delays, says LPR envoy

LPR’s envoy recalled that the "great exchange" had been in the works for 22 months

LUGANSK, October 30. /TASS/. The prisoner swap between Ukraine and the Donbass republics is being dragged out due to the position of Kiev, who is no hurry to carry out the ‘legal clearance’ of those who are supposed to be transferred to the Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics (LPR and DPR), said Rodion Miroshnik, the LPR’s envoy to the political subgroup of the Trilateral Contact Group on the eastern Ukraine settlement, on Wednesday

On Tuesday, Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office to the Trilateral Contact Group Martin Sajdik reported that the peace negotiators in Minsk "are preparing to carry out a truly large exchange <...> and the parties are working very diligently on this matter."

In light of this, Miroshnik reiterated that the "great exchange" has been in the works for 22 months, six of them already [had passed] under [Ukrainian President Vladimir] Zelensky." "The process is being dragged out, since Kiev is no hurry with the ‘legal clearance’ of people who are supposed to be transferred to the republics," he wrote on his Telegram channel.

The LPR representative explained that the "legal clearance" is a slew of measures to decriminalize detained people, who are to be swapped. Miroshnik pointed out that this means, "Ukraine should grant amnesty to these people, close those criminal cases and terminate any prosecution." "However, in the majority of previous exchanges, Kiev did not implement this. People were transferred without documents and then put on a wanted list right after the exchange," he said, reiterating that in August, Kiev’s representatives asked to be provided six weeks for ‘legal clearance.’ "After that another six weeks passed, but the decriminalization process had not been completed," the LPR delegate pointed out.

"Kiev is in no hurry, as long as people on both sides are waiting for the exchange. The date of the swap has still not been announced due to Kiev’s negligence, so Sajdik’s statement about the preparation of the "great exchange" is still more of an aspiration than an accomplished deal," Miroshnik concluded.