13:32 Jun. 18, 2016
Ukraine sends letter to OSCE chairperson Steinmeier demanding help in prisoner exchange
Ukraine has sent a letter to OSCE Chairperson Frank-Walter Steinmeier, demanding help in prisoner exchange. According to President Poroshenko's envoy Iryna Herashchenko, the Russian-backed separatists have blocked the negotiations on the release of Ukrainian prisoners, captured in Donbas.
According to Herashchenko, the militants refuse to provide information about the numbers of the prisoners. The envoy also claims, the hostages are outright being tortured by their kidnappers.
"The situation is only getting worse. During our last meeting, the militants admitted to putting a critically ill patient without limbs and eyes in jail. Our guys are being threatened, their relatives are dismayed!" Herashchenko posted on Facebook.
She said the militants have suspended the talks until their demands are met. They want amnesty from Ukraine, which the envoy claims was already approved by the Ukrainian Parliament in late 2014.
"The amnesty law didn't come into force due to the constant ceasefire violations and the mercenaries sent by the OSCE member Russia, which continues to supply weapons to the separatists. But what do our prisoners have to wait for? Why is the Red Cross denied access to them?" Herashchenko emotionally asked.
The envoy also blamed OSCE for the lack of action. "Where is reaction from OSCE and Germany which holds the OSCE Chairmanship?" she questioned.
Herashchenko calls on Steinmeier to make Russia have the militants stop blackmailing the prisoners and finally release them.