Emmanuel Macron, the President of France and Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany made the joint statement on the escalation in Donbas, Eastern Ukraine as the Embassy of France to Ukraine reported.
The leaders urge the sides of the Donbas Conflict to take the responsibility due to the unacceptable increase of the violations of the ceasefire regime and make a decision to make easier the sufferings of the population in this situation. Also, they emphasize the importance of the peaceful settlement of the conflict through the Minsk Agreements.
The French president and German chancellor hail the agreement on the release of 380 prisoners from both sides achieved by the Trilateral Contact Group on Donbas. This proves the significant progress in the implementation of the Minsk Agreements. The leaders also urge the siders to continue to put the efforts to make easier the prisoner’s exchange.
Also, Macron and Merkel urge for the return of the Russian officers to the Join Center for Control and Coordination that plays an important role in the support of the OSCE observers and control of the keeping of the ceasefire regime.
Talking about the unstable situation in the security sphere, the leaders ask the sides of the conflict to implement the agreements on the designation and assignment of the heavy weaponry beyond the demarcation line and also to retire the tanks, artillery and mortar launchers according to the agreements.
The politicians also emphasized the necessity to fasten the work on the political events, including the amnesty, special status, local elections and amendments to the Constitution. They also remind on the commitments that aim to restore the social and economic ties with Donbas. Particularly, the leaders hailed the restoration of the bridge in Stanytsia Luhanska and urge to open the checkpoints in Zolote or Shchastia.
The French president and German chancellor will follow the situation in Donbas and fulfillment of the commitments by the sides.
The SBU, Ukraine’s state security service will provide safety of Ukrainian hostages during the exchange of POWs, which is slated for the noon of December 27th. Head of the law enforcement service Vasyl Hrytsak reported that in Kyiv on Monday evening.
Besides, the government will provide the released hostages with necessary medical assistance. Their families will get material assistance, whenever needed.
The exchange of POWs between Ukraine and the pro-Kremlin militants will take place on Wednesday noon. Local media controlled by pro-Russian mercenaries reported that, quoting the DNR leader Aleksandr Zakharchenko, who signed the respective decree on December 26th.
The exchange procedure is slated for 12.00 a.m. Wednesday.
As is known, Kyiv is to exchange 306 members of illegal armed units on 74 Ukrainian citizens that have been held hostage in occupied Donbas for a long time.