Representative of Ukraine in the Trilateral Contact Group on Donbas and the First Vice-Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Iryna Gerashchenko commented the offer of ex-president Viktor Yanukovych to hold negotiations on the prisoners’ exchange, stating on Facebook that Ukraine has nothing to ask of the “fugitive and traitor”.
Gerashchenko said she had predicted in summer that Russia would raise the issue of the prisoners’ release, which is quite sensitive for Ukrainians, before the elections. Besides, she noted that President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko held the negotiations with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the release of the hostages and political prisoners and the following exchange in the “all for all” format many times.
“Putin keeps Ukrainians in the prison, instead his trained and tamed mongrels. And the fool is a person, who plays by zaniness to cynical and dirty scenarios of Kremlin; he should not play negotiations but be responsible for the state treason. We have nothing to ask of Yanukovych, who is despised in Kyiv, Lviv and his native Donbas as fugitive and traitor”, Gerashchenko said.
She also emphasized that Yanukovych should be extradited to Ukraine for serving the sentence delivered by the court for committed state treason.
“And we are waiting from Putin, not fools and mongrels, the immediate solution of the prisoners’ issue. Putin, not fools, has the keys from prisons and cells with Ukrainian sailors, political prisoners and hostages. Mongrels only evoke disgust,” Gerashchenko emphasized.
Ukraine offered Russia to exchange hostages on January 5, 2019. According to the official, Ukraine passed the OSCE the proposal to pardon and pass 72 pro-Kremlin separatists in exchange for 19 Ukrainian hostages held in the occupied territories. Kyiv is also ready to pass Russia 22 citizens, detained and judged in Ukraine. In exchange, the Ukrainian side urges the Kremlin to release and send 22 political prisoners back to Ukraine.
Last time the sides exchanged hostages on December 27, 2017. According to the SBU data, 73 people returned to Ukraine-controlled territory, while 233 returned to the occupied areas of Donbas.