Viktor Medvedchuk, head of the Ukrainian political party “Opposition Platform – For Life” and a close associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin, told 112 Ukraine in an interview that since May 2018 he has not been involved in the humanitarian subgroup for the Donbas.
Medvedchuk said that the day before the last prisoner exchange (27 December 2017), President Petro Poroshenko have him a guarantee that the next stage of the exchange would be done in the format “all candidates for all candidates”. However, Medvedchuk said that Poroshenko later refused to go ahead with the “all for all” approach.
“I said: If we depart from our agreements, I don’t want to go to the humanitarian subgroup session in Minsk. Especially since exchange matters are not decided there. The matters of preparation for exchanges have been decided there,” Medvedchuk said.
The opposition politician said that he is willing to organize a prisoner exchange within three to five days if Ukraine agrees to the demands of the DPR and LPR, which include on their lists Russian citizens and persons not involved in the Donbas conflict.
“In light of the fact that the situation has not changed, since May I have actually not traveled to Minsk, and in this case there were no exchanges because Poroshenko did not demonstrate political will,” Medvedchuk remarked.
“If Mr. Zelensky has the political will to release our boys in Donetsk and Luhansk, 62 identified people, he could do this within 3-5 days. However, he must give the go ahead for the release of everyone that Donetsk and Luhansk want in Ukraine,” he added.
On 29 January at a session of the Opposition Platform, Medvedchuk presented his plan to resolve the conflict in the Donbas. Among other things, he proposed that the Donbas be given autonomy as part of Ukraine, and that this be written into the Constitution.
The Shevchenkivskyi District Court of Kyiv has ordered a linguistic assessment of what Medvedchuk said about the “autonomy of the Donbas” to determine whether his speech contained a call to change Ukraine’s borders.
Yevhen Marchuk, Ukraine’s representative in the Trilateral Contact Group, announced in December 2018 that Medvedchuk would no longer be working in the humanitarian subgroup.