The representative of Ukraine in the humanitarian sub-group of the Tripartite Contact Group for the settlement of the situation in the Donbas, First Deputy Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Iryna Herashchenko stated that Ukraine knows where 87 out of the 144 Ukrainian prisoners are held in the Donbas. However, according to her, the separatists have confirmed only 71 hostages, Radio Liberty reports.
"In the last year, the key theme of all the meetings of the humanitarian subgroup has been the release of hostages, and Ukraine has long been prepared for broad compromises in the matter of freeing hostages. Unfortunately, during this time, as we can see, the number of those who are illegally detained in the occupied territories has increased. Today it’s 144 Ukrainians," Herashchenko stated.
She said that in the past few months, representatives of the separatists have been blackmailing Ukraine to include 43 people on the list for release, while those people have nothing to do with fighting in the Donbas.
On the clarifying question whether Ukraine offered to exchange 87 hostages for 309, as stated by the special representative for humanitarian issues in the Tripartite Contact Group Viktor Medvedchuk, Herashchenko said, "We are working ... before the group has done its job, I never comment on something that could be detrimental to its work tomorrow."
One of the main agendas of the Minsk agreements has been the release of prisoners of war, which has not been fulfilled in recent months. For the entire year of 2017, only two people were released by the separatists. On July 29, a judge of the Luhansk Region Court of Appeal, Vitaly Rudenko and blogger Lyudmila Surzhenko were freed from Luhansk. All other attempts to reach an agreement failed for various reasons.