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Savchenko confirms meeting separatist chieftains

They are "people, not devils", she says.

Savchenko confirms meeting separatist chieftains
Nadiya Savchenko
Photo: Video screengrab

Ukrainian MP Nadiya Savchenko (Fatherland) has confirmed she has visited Minsk to meet the leaders of the self-proclaimed separatist Donetsk and Luhansk people's republics (DPR and LPR), Oleksandr Zakharchenko and Ihor Plotnytskyy respectively.

She told journalists she was there to discuss an exchange of prisoners.

"As for the meeting. Yes, there was a meeting in the trilateral Minsk format in the presence of the Russian side and with the participation of Zakharchenko and Plotnytskyy on behalf of the DPR and LPR. The purpose of the meeting was to strengthen the Minsk format and improve its efficiency in the near future. People should be pulled out of there, an end should be put to the war," she said.

She added she saw "people, not devils" in Zakharchenko and Plotnytskyy.

"Yes, I sat at one table with people with whom we shot at each other. I did not see devil in them. I talked to people," she said.

She described the talks as effective.

Oleksandr Tkachuk, head of the Security Service of Ukraine's (SBU) office, said in a comment to Interfax-Ukraine that the special service talked to her about the meeting.

"Savchenko was questioned within the framework of criminal proceedings on the establishment of the DPR terrorist organization," he said.

He noted that Savchenko came to the SBU voluntarily.

According to Tkachuk, her meeting with the DPR and LPR chieftains is not legally punishable. "The only aspect which she is likely to have violated is the regime of secrecy. All our MPs are cleared to have access to state secrets. She has to inform the department in charge of regime and secrecy at her place of work, that would be the office of the Supreme Council, about her intention to go abroad," he said.

On 7 December, Savchenko discreetly visited Minsk to meet Zakharchenko and Plotnytskyy, according to LIGA.net. The website suggested that the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) is trying to carry out an exchange of prisoners so that it would look as if Ukraine (represented by Savchenko) directly negotiated with the "legitimate authorities in Donbas" represented by the terrorists.