The trilateral contact group on a Donbas settlement has failed to reach any progress either on prisoner exchange or on visits to Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia, Ukraine’s representative at the talks and first deputy speaker, Iryna Herashchenko, has said.
“The Russian Federation has given no answer to the proposal to swap 36 Russians in exchange for our people in Russian prisons. Neither oral nor written. This means Russia does not need its citizens. Representatives of ORDLO [separatist-controlled areas in Donetsk and Luhansk regions], who are fully controlled by Russia, said that they would only talk about prisoner exchange with one person. Thus they made yet another attempt to carry out the Kremlin’s order to correct the composition of the group,” she said on Facebook.
She suggested that the Kremlin was not ready to release its political prisoners in any of the territories under its control. “Moscow has not come up with a price it could charge for this trump card and plans to further use the issue of hostages for haggling, blackmail and dirty political games,” she said.
She was not particularly happy about OSCE coordinator Toni Frisch’s position either.
“There is a surprising position of the OSCE coordinator who at first described as ‘politicization of the process’ the clause on the immediate access of the Red Cross to prisons in occupied Donbas. Now he considers the clause on the Red Cross access to our people in Russian prisons unnecessary. We will insist on the access to Russian prisons as a party to the conflict and participant in the Minsk process. Only in this case can a declaration be adopted. I would like to stress – the Red Cross, UN and OSCE missions have full access to Ukrainian prisons. Therefore this declaration must above all concern Russia and the territories it occupied,” she said.