Citizens of Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) filed over 500 requests concerning the search and release of their relatives detained on the territory of Ukraine, the authorized LPR Representative in the Subgroup on Humanitarian Affairs in the Contact Group, the Head of the Working Group on the Exchange of LPR War Prisoners Olga Kobtseva claimed on September 17th.
On September 17th, the exchange of war prisoners and detainees took place on a bridge near Schastye town controlled by Kiev’s punitive forces. The Ukrainian side released 4 civilians of Donbass in exchange for 2 people, whom DPR and LPR police suspected of being saboteurs.
Kobtseva claimed that the number of LPR citizens detained by the Ukraine could be 10 times or even 100 times higher than the number of filed requests. She also added that people are persecuted on political grounds on the whole territory of Ukraine. She stressed that the citizens of Kharkov, Kiev, Kherson and Odessa regions are also against the present Government, which seized the power by force, and that they are also against the policy carried out on the territory of Ukraine in the present moment.
Kobtseva specified that up to 50 people were released since the Working Group (on Humanitarian Affairs in the Contact Group – Lugansk Information Center) started operating. 8 people were released in February and March of 2016. “We must free people, and we must fight for the people, this is our duty,” Kobtseva added.
The exchange of war prisoners is one of the main parts of the Minsk Agreement. On February 12th, 2015, the Members of the Contact Group on the settlement of the situation in Donbass signed the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk agreements agreed on with the heads of the states of “Normandy Format”. In the Resolution 2202 (2015), the UN Security Council endorsed the Package of Measures, which became the Annex No1 to this Resolution. The UN Security Council also urged all the parties to fully implement the Package of Measures.
The document stipulates the ceasefire, the withdrawal of heavy artillery from the contact line, launch of dialogue on the reestablishment of social and economic connections between Kiev and Donbass as well as the carrying out constitutional reform in Ukraine providing for decentralization and adopting permanent legislation on “the special status of certain areas of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions”.