Ukraine will appeal to the European colleagues with an urge to address to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin with a request before the 2018 FIFA World Cup to pardon the Ukrainian citizens in the Russian prisons. Iryna Gerashchenko, Ukraine’s representative in the humanitarian subgroup in the Trilateral Contact Group on Donbas claimed this as 112 Ukraine broadcasted.
‘We want to appeal to all our European colleagues with the urge to address to Putin, Russian authority with a request before to pardon the Ukrainian citizens in the Russian prisons before the 2018 FIFA World Cup. We need world solidarity to make the process to progress’, Gerashchenko claimed.
According to her, the Ukrainian side hoped for the progress in the release of the hostages before the presidential election but it did not happen.
‘WE hoped that the window of opportunity will be opened before the presidential election in Russia, possibly, Putin will be ready for such humanitarian gesture – to pardon the Ukrainians. But, unfortunately, it did not take place’, Gerashchenko said.
As it was reported earlier, at the Trilateral Contact Group session Ukraine stated about its readiness to exchange 23 Russians for its political prisoners kept in Russia.
The last big exchange of prisoners took place in Donbas on Dec. 27. Then, 73 Ukrainians were released in exchange for 233 militants. The parties discussed the possibility of the next one and submitted the lists of individuals on Jan. 18 in Minsk.
73 Ukrainian hostages came back home. 233 persons were transferred to the occupied territory.
Also, on March 2, Bohdan Martson and Igor Dziubak, the employees of the State Border Service kidnapped by the Russian special services in October 2017, were returned to Ukraine. In its turn, Ukraine transferred Vladimir Kuznetsov and Askar Kuluba, the soldiers of FSB Border Guard Service detained in 2017 in Kherson region to the Russian side.