Minsk Contact Group reach deal to release 50 POWs

На перамовах Кантактнай групы дамовіліся вызваліць з палону 50 чалавек

The first 2016 meeting of the Contact Group to Resolve the Conflict in Ukraine was held on January 13 in Minsk. Like the previous one, it was held in the President Hotel next to the headquarters of Belarusian president.

The sides voiced once again that the main thing today is a complete cease-fire in Donbas. Accordingly, the Ukrainian delegation supported the initiative of Russia's representative Boris Gryzlov declaring the regime of silence, which should begin immediately. This was reported by Darka Alifer, a spokesperson for the ex-president Leonid Kuchma, the official representative of Kyiv in the Contact Group.

Darka Alifer: "Particular attention was paid to the issue of returning Ukrainian citizens from captivity. At the initiative of Ukraine, all parties came to a mutual agreement to release in the near future 50 people from both sides - especially the wounded, the seriously ill and women. International humanitarian organizations, in particular the International Committee of the Red Cross, should be allowed to visit prisoners who are on the part of Donbas not controled by Ukraine. The representatives of ORDLO repeatedly promised to do it, but have not yet fulfilled their promises."

At the last 2015 meeting of the Contact Group was reached an agreement on the silence regime during the celebration of Christmas and New Year, but in practice no one complied.

The date of the next meeting is not yet known. According to preliminary data, the parties agreed to meet in Minsk twice a month.

Last year, representatives of the Contact Group signed an agreement of 13 items, which was to be the basis for the Donbas conflict settlement. The first item there was also a requirement for full ceasefire. As a result, not one point of agreement was observed.