Zelensky: Ukraine seeks release of 200 detainees, sends list to TCG in Minsk
Ukraine is seeking the release of over 200 detainees, having sent their list to the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) for Donbas in Minsk, Belarus.
"The Ukrainian party in Minsk submitted a list of more than 200 surnames for the future mutual release of detained persons. This was reported by President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky in an interview with Turkish TV channel TRT," the presidential press service said.
"In Minsk, we have submitted a list of more than 200 people. It is very important. We found out the names of these people, their whereabouts. We do not know when and from which regions we will return these people, but we definitely strive for that," the press service quoted Zelensky as saying.
According to him, some people whom Ukraine wants to exchange may have already died.
"Some of them were tortured, we do not know who is [alive] there. But, unfortunately, we know that we can only return the bodies of some of those people. There are people in the Minsk group working on all these issues," he said.
In addition, according to the president, the issue of Crimean Tatars' rights in occupied Crimea is under discussion with Russia.
All diplomatic means should be used to end the war and return people, he said.
"It is very important to speak about disengagement sites. I mean, last year we selected three humanitarian disengagement sites. There are three new sites we are discussing," he said.
Yet, Zelensky says, the issue of Crimea remains the most difficult one in the negotiations, but it is impossible to speak about the territorial integrity of Ukraine without it.
"When I took part in the Normandy meeting [on December 9, 2019], I raised this issue, but everyone talked about Donbas, about how to stop the war in Donbas. There was no Crimea in any agreement. Crimea is a strategic issue for us. We cannot speak about the territorial integrity of Ukraine without discussing the issue of Crimea," he said.
As UNIAN reported earlier, Andriy Yermak, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's chief of staff, on March 1 met with deputy head of Russian President Vladimir Putin's Administration Dmitry Kozak in Minsk, Belarus, to discuss a swap of prisoners in the all-for-all format.
This was agreed by greed by the Normandy Four leaders (Ukraine, Russia, France, and Germany) at their summit in Paris in December 2019.