Iryna Gerashchenko, President's Humanitarian Envoy at the Minsk peace talks regarding the War in Donbas, states the absence of the progress in Ukrainian hostages release and search for missing, as she wrote on Facebook.
“If we talk about the humanitarian group, Russia did not give any response concerning 23 Russian citizens convicted of the crimes against Ukrainian state, who we are ready to pass to Russian Federation to release political prisoners and hostages. Russia does not really care about forgotten “ikhtamnet” (a Russian neologism for Russian military soldiers who participate in an undeclared war with Ukraine, - ed.) in Donetsk steppe…there is no progress concerning the hostages release and search for missing,” she wrote.
According to Gerashchenko, the hostages' issue requires the international community to put pressure on Russia.
“This causes enormous concern, especially amid recent distressing news on the deterioration of the health of our political prisoners and hostages, on Sentsov’s hunger strike, as well as prolonged fasting of Volodymyr Balukh. The hostages' issue requires the entire world to put pressure on Russia,” Herashchenko stressed.
The hostages' exchange between Ukraine and ORDLO took place on December 27, 2017. 73 Ukrainian prisoners came back home. 233 people were transferred to the occupied territory.
Earlier, Bogdan Mertsonya and Igor Dziubak, Ukrainian border guards came back home on March 2. Russian special services kidnapped them near the state border in Sumy region in October 2017. Ukraine transferred to Russia Vladimir Kuznetsov and Askar Kulub, servicemen of the Russian Federal Security Border Service, arrested in Kherson region in summer of 2017.
It remains unknown when the next hostage exchange takes place. As it was reported, at the session of the Trilateral Contact Group in Minsk Ukraine claimed its readiness to exchange 23 Russians for its political prisoners kept in Russia. Meanwhile, the militants demand to pass them 80 convicted in exchange for 15 Ukrainian prisoners.
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