KYIV, (BM) – Representatives of Ukraine and the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics held talks in the form of a video conference with the participation of mediators – Russia and the OSCE – and agreed on the exchange of prisoners, learned BulgarianMilitary.com, according Russian Gazats online magazine.
According to Boris Gryzlov, plenipotentiary representative of Russia in the contact group for resolving the situation in the Donbass, the exchange will take place within the next one and a half weeks.
“The discussion took place, and this time there are concrete results. Representatives of Kiev, Donetsk and Lugansk, with the participation of intermediaries – Russia and the OSCE, managed to agree on the necessary conditions for the release and exchange of detainees by the end of the year,” the diplomat said.
The press secretary of Ukraine’s Permanent Representative to the Minsk Contact Group, Leonid Kuchma, Daria Olifer, confirmed the achievement of consensus.
“During the contact group’s videoconference, an agreement was reached on the mutual release of the detainees by the end of the year, as provided for at the summit of the leaders of the Norman Four countries in Paris,” she said on her Facebook page.
The exchange of prisoners between Kiev and the Donbass will take place according to the formula “all installed on all installed,” added LPR delegate in the Minsk Group Rodion Miroshnik.
During the negotiations, the main problem that hindered the exchange was removed – decriminalization of the transferred persons.
Further, the ombudsmen of the republics and the representative of Kiev finally agree on the lists of exchanged and the date of the exchange. The exchange will be carried out according to the formula “all installed on all installed”, RIA Novosti quoted Miroshnik as saying.
As for another agreement that was reached at the Norman Quartet summit – on the withdrawal of troops – everything is not so smooth here. During the discussion of three new sites for the separation of forces in the Donbass, the Ukrainian side proposed zones in which the withdrawal of forces will not affect the life of the local population in any way, said the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia Sergey Lavrov.
“The Ukrainian side, according to my information, has proposed three sites in the open field, where breeding will not have any impact on people’s safety,” the Russian minister said on the program “Big Game” on Channel One.
The main theme of the program was the summit in the “Norman format” held on December 9th. Almost two weeks ago, the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany met in Paris and held talks to resolve the intra-Ukrainian conflict in the Donbass. The leaders of the “Norman Four” also called for a ceasefire in the south-east of Ukraine by the end of the year.
In addition, the parties to the format called on the contact group to ensure the exchange of prisoners in the Donbass “all for all” by the end of the year and to provide the Red Cross with “full and unconditional access to all detainees.”
As for the separation of forces and means of the parties to the conflict, it was assumed that this would happen immediately and along the entire line of contact. But Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky did not agree to such a development. According to Lavrov, the head of the neighboring state did not take such a step, because his hands are tied.
Russian Foreign Minister said: during the summit of the “Norman Four” Zelensky said that he could not support the withdrawal of arms of the parties along the entire line, “because it is a very distant goal.”
The head of Ukraine reminded the negotiators that the breeding at three pilot points near the village of Lugansk and the villages of Petrovskoye and Zolotoye took him more than five months. In this connection, he concluded that the complete withdrawal of forces and means of the opponents will take about 7-10 years.
“Therefore, he can only agree that the“ Norman format ”calls on the Contact Group to agree on breeding at three more points. To this, Putin said: let’s write it down, but in parallel with the call to “get a divorce” at three points, let’s say that we, in principle, are for the separation of forces and assets to take place along the entire line of contact. A categorical refusal,” Lavrov shared in the Big Game program.
According to the diplomat, Zelensky’s refusal is a “serious indicator” of the fact that the Ukrainian leader “apparently has his hands tied” even on a key issue of his policy. When Zelensky was elected to the post of president of the country, one of the main provisions of his election program was the promise to end the war and to make people cease to die.
“He either has some obligations to those who do not want any end to the conflict, or simply understands that he may have problems at home,” the head of the Russian foreign ministry said.
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