Ukraine taking back nine citizens from captivity in Russian-occupied part of Donetsk region (Photo)
The Verkhovna Rada Human Rights Commissioner Liudmila Denisova has said Ukraine as part of today's prisoner swap will take back from the unrecognized "Donetsk People's Republic" ("DPR") nine Ukrainian citizens, including military serviceman Viktor Shaidov, who was captured by Donbas militants in 2019.
"Nine Ukrainian citizens will be returned from the temporarily occupied territory of Donetsk region. In particular, among them is Viktor Shaidov. He is a member of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Shaidov was captured and had been illegally held in the temporarily occupied territory of Donetsk region since 2019," she wrote on Facebook on April 16.
In total, 19 Ukrainians, who were illegally detained by Russian-controlled forces in the self-proclaimed "Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics" ("DPR"/"LPR") in Donbas, will be released and handed over to the Ukrainian government today, April 16.
"Of course, [coronavirus] quarantine restrictions have significantly affected the negotiations, which were difficult. But, as we see, joint efforts of everyone involved in this important work have yielded results," she added.
According to Denisova, those released will undergo mandatory observation in a designated facility. They will be provided with all essentials, medical supervision, and communication channels.
The official emphasized that the release of all Ukrainian nationals, who are still being illegally held in captivity in Russia, temporarily occupied territories of Crimea, Luhansk and Donetsk regions, remains priority.
"We are doing our best, and we are applying all tools available to have every Ukrainian [held in captivity] released," Denisova stressed.
As UNIAN reported earlier, another stage of the prisoner swap has kicked off in Donbas today, April 16, to bringing home 19 of Ukrainian citizens who have been held in captivity in the temporarily occupied territories.