Trump card Moscow keeps up its sleeve: Gerashchenko says Russia blackmails Ukraine with prisoners
Russia has been blackmailing Ukraine with prisoners whom Moscow refuses to release despite earlier agreements, however the talks on hostage liberation should continue with Russia, not with the militant leaders, according to First Deputy Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's representative in the humanitarian subgroup of the Trilateral contact group Iryna Gerashchenko, 5.ua reports.
"The issue of hostages has become one of the most emotional and difficult ones. This is that one issue, the trump card that Moscow holds up its sleeve, trying to blackmail Ukraine and the whole world with it, demanding amnesty [for militants detained in Ukraine]," said Gerashchenko.
"The decision on whom to release, when to release, and how to release, is not taken by ‘Igorek’ and ‘Sasha’ [the reference to the manner Nadiia Savchenko called Donbas militant leaders Igor Plotnitsky and Alexander Zakharchenko, with whom she held unsanctioned talks in Minsk] but by Moscow. That is why it is very important to talk specifically with Moscow: to find a way how to demand from Moscow the release of our prisoners," she said.
Read alsoUkraine unilaterally hands over 15 militantsOn December 23, during the Skype conference of the humanitarian subgroup on Donbas settlement, the Ukrainian side once again raised the issue of the release of prisoners, but according to Gerashchenko, Russia was not ready to release the hostages.