Ukraine's envoy calls on Russia to free prisoners of war by Christmas holidays
Ambassador Ihor Prokopchuk, the Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the International Organizations, has called on Russia to free Ukrainian prisoners of war and hostages by New Year and Christmas holidays, according to Ukraine's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
"We share the appeal of [Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office in Ukraine and in the Trilateral Contact Group, TCG] Ambassador Sajdik 'to demonstrate compassion and do everything possible to release the detainees until the New Year and Christmas holidays' which he made after the recent TCG meeting on October 27, 2017," Prokopchuk said at the 1162nd meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna on November 2, 2017.
Read alsoRussia frees Crimean Tatar political prisoners Chiygoz and Umerov – lawyer"Four months have passed since Ambassador Sajdik announced after the TCG meeting in Minsk on July 5 about the 'completion of additional checks on the free will of detainees in relation to the conflict,' which had been requested by the Russian proxies as the prerequisite for further progress in this process. Yet until now all Ukrainian proposals on the release are denied," he added.
In his words, Ukraine urges the Russian Federation to stop using hostages for its political aims and to unblock the release process immediately.
OSCE representative and coordinator of the humanitarian working group, Ambassador Toni Frisch told Hromandske.ua that no swaps of hostages had taken place because their lists had not been finalized.
In his words, exchanges of prisoners of war have been paused since December 2016.
Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs Pavlo Klimkin said that 38 Ukrainian political prisoners were illegally kept in Russian prisons.
Read alsoDonbas militants tortured Ukrainian blogger for 4 days – GerashchenkoMember of the TCG humanitarian subgroup and First Deputy Chairperson of the Ukrainian parliament Iryna Gerashchenko said that 402 Ukrainian citizens were recognized as missing in Donetsk and Luhansk regions as of October 26, 2017.