During a meeting in the Normandy format in Paris, the parties agreed to promote the release of detained persons by December 31, 2019 on the principle “all for all”, as stated by President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
“Today, Ukraine, Germany, France and the Russian Federation have discussed and agreed on some very important things. Member States shall promote mutual release by December 31, 2019 on “all for all” basis. The need to verify the full lists and to provide full and unconditional access to all detained persons for the representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross was agreed,” the President of Ukraine said during a meeting with the media following the Normandy summit in Paris.
Answering journalists’ questions, Volodymyr Zelenskyy noted that the success was that during the negotiations in Paris, it was possible to agree on specific terms for the release of detained persons.
“For me, the most important thing is human life, I always said so. For me, the main victory – I went with it – we agreed on the exchange of “all for all”. It is written in the Minsk agreements, but now we have agreed on the terms. I believe that this will be observed,” the President of Ukraine emphasized.
“We really want our citizens to come home and spend New Year holidays with their loved ones. The exchange of captives has always been discussed in Minsk within the Trilateral Contact Group, but it has not always been carried out. It seems to me that now, when this issue has risen to the highest level, it will be resolved very quickly on both sides – by the end of the year,” the Head of State added.
The President stressed that the first stage should be the release of all agreed persons.
“We will be shown the lists. At present it is about Donbas (persons detained in the occupied territories of Donbas – ed.),” he said.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that during a meeting with the President of the Russian Federation, they had discussed the possibility of releasing people detained not only in Donbas, but also in Crimea and the territory of Russia.
“Let’s take the first step, the big step. Because 72 people can come home. I really want that. We really want to do this by the end of the year,” the President emphasized.