DPR sees no prisoner exchange prospects until Ukraine cancels resolution on elections

Donetsk, Sep 14 – DAN. Progress in the Donbass and new prisoner exchange talks is not possible until Kiev revises the resolution on local elections passed by Verkhovnaya Rada (parliament) on July 15, Donetsk People’s Republic representative to the Contact Group, DPR Foreign Minister Natalia Nikonorova told the Donetsk News Agency on Monday.

Earlier in the day, Andrey Yermak, head of the Office of the Ukrainian President, said that the Contact Group would discuss prisoner exchange preparations at the next meeting. Yermak said that the sides had drawn lists of some 100 detainees each.

“Kiev has not yet cancelled Verkhovnaya Rada’s resolution on local elections, whose Item 4 is at odds with the Minsk Agreements. We articulate our position to Ukrainian representatives literary every time we talk with them at the Contact Group: progress on any track of the Minsk accords is not possible without cancelling or amending the resolution, in order to remove the contradictions to these accords,” Nikonorova said in a statement.

She called the Ukrainian representatives’ remarks regarding prisoner exchange preparations “empty talk that makes no sense” because no such statements are made in Minsk. “It’s rather the other way round, we find it very difficult at the Contact Group talks to have Ukraine make any clear moves towards preparing the exchange not in words but in deed,” the DPR foreign minister said.

Also, the new prisoner exchange is not expedient because Ukraine has not yet fulfilled its obligations concerning previous exchanges: part of the people released from captivity have not been cleared of charges and continue to be subject to prosecution in Ukrainian territory, Nikonorova said.

Item 4 of the Ukrainian parliament’s resolution on local elections in Ukraine said that preliminary transfer to Kiev of the control of the border with Russia, withdrawal of all “illegal armed formations” and hardware, restoration of the “constitutional law and order” matching Ukraine’s current laws were the condition for holding the elections in the DPR and the LPR. These demands directly contradict the Minsk Agreements which envision granting a special status to the region and holding elections there under the terms directly coordinated with Donbass representatives, with the possibility to discuss the border control transfer following these steps.*jk

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