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Zelensky promises to create support program for returned prisoners

The president noted that all Ukrainians returned from the captivity should obtain a special status
16:34, 11 October 2019

Zoya Shu/112.ua

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky promised that the program for support of people who returned from the captivity will be created in Ukraine as 112 Ukraine reported.

Journalist Zoia Shulga noted that over 3.000 of Ukrainian were in the captivity during the years of the Russian aggression; the half of them is civilians who have no special status and support. She asked the president whether there are some plans or elaboration of the state program for support of such people.

“We have to provide such support, we have to provide the status for these people; we have to provide help; we have to do it,” Zelensky noted.

Related: EU continues to call on Russian Federation to release all Ukrainian prisoners, - Mogherini

The president noted that the Ministry of Veterans under the government of PM Honcharuk is working for a short period of time and the issue of help to people who returned from the captivity will be definitely explored.

“We set the task; we have as you know the Ministry of Veterans, we have the new government. We have set the task; I signed the orders to offer such a program. But how long the ministry, the new minister are working? Unfortunately, it was not elaborated before. Maybe, there was something…But we met the veterans and talked about the flats and conditions and so on. We plan. We want,” the president said.

Besides, Zelensky believes that it is necessary to hold fruitful negotiations in Normandy Format or in Minsk to prevent the increase of the number of people who will need the special status.  

“What if we will not agree in Normandy Format or in Minsk – you know how much people we will accept? Then it will be another story and we will be obliged to accept everyone who is Ukrainian, who wants to live in this state. And then the issue may raise; you know which one? About million of people. Simply, plus million, at least. At least. I do not know how much people will come. It is a very difficult situation so we want to use Plan A now and then Plan B,” Zelensky concluded.

Related: Ukrainian ombudsman asks Russian counterpart to find whereabouts of political prisoners Dudka, Bessarabov

On September 7, the first stage of the prisoners’ exchange took place between Kyiv and Moscow in 35 for 35 format.

24 Ukrainian sailors and 11 political prisoners - already ex-political prisoners - captured by Russia over the past five years, returned to Ukraine. Faces of the released Ukrainian sailors, left activist Oleksandr Kolchenko, filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, journalist Roman Sushchenko, Crimean Tatar Edem Bekirov and the rest of former captives were seen in the crowd. 

Meanwhile, 227 Ukrainians are still detained and imprisoned on the occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

According to Ukraine’s Ombudsman Lyudmyla Denisova, 113 Ukrainians, including 89 Crimean Tatars, deterred in Russia.

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