KIEV – Ukraine and Russia do not intend to exchange prisoners this September 2, the lawyer of Russian citizens held in Ukraine, Valentin Ribin, said.
“Today there will be not [an exchange], no one will go anywhere until there is a Zelenski decree on the pardon,” he said.
The spokeswoman for the Security Service of Ukraine, Elena Guitliánskaya, said on August 30 that nothing prevents the exchange of prisoners between Russia and Ukraine and all the corresponding procedures “move forward as planned.”
Kiev and Moscow are finalizing the date and details of the prisoner swap.
Last week, the Ukrainian president, Volodimir Zelenski, said he expects “in the next few days” results of the work that has been done for two months to exchange prisoners with Russia.
The Kremlin, meanwhile, confirmed last week that Russia and Ukraine maintain contacts in this regard, but at the same time denied that a date had been set for the future exchange of prisoners.
In 2014, Ukraine launched an operation against militias in the east of its territory – Donbass – where the people’s republics of Donetsk and Lugansk were proclaimed, in response to the violent change of government in Kiev in February of the same year.
The Minsk agreements laid the groundwork for a political resolution of the conflict, but until recently they failed to stop the hostilities.
Among the measures drawn up in February 2015 in order to comply with the agreement is “the release of all hostages and the exchange of prisoners of war.”
Russia maintains certain contacts with Ukraine on the exchange of prisoners between the two countries, said Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov days ago.
“I can say that we maintain certain contacts but I cannot add anything else,” Peskov told reporters when asked about the issue.
Peskov added that the Kremlin greets the release of the head of the RIA Novosti Ukraina portal, Kiril Vishinski, by the Kiev Court of Appeals.
“I want to remind you of a statement by [Russian President, Vladimir] Putin, who said that it can be judged only by concrete facts, by concrete words, and we must wait for it; there are concrete steps, such as the release of Vishinski, what we greet,” he said.
He added that Moscow closely follows the readjustments in the Ukrainian government and called on it to comply with the Minsk Agreements to normalize relations with Russia.