: More than 100 Ukrainians remain in militant captivity in Donbas

13:02 Jul. 6, 2016

More than 100 Ukrainians remain in militant captivity in Donbas

A Russia-backed militant escorts Ukrainian prisoners of war before a prisoner exchange, near Zholobok, Ukraine, Feb. 21, 2015 (AP Photo)

Dozens more political prisoners are held in Russian jails

Combined Russian-backed separatist forces are currently holding 111 Ukrainian hostages in the occupied areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

This was reported by Iryna Gerashchenko - Ukrainian President's envoy on a peaceful settlement of the situation in Donetsk and Luhansk regions and first deputy speaker of the Ukrainian parliament. 

"With Ivan Bezyazykov freed, 111 more Ukrainians remain in militant captivity, according to the information provided by Security Service of Ukraine. They are civilians and military men," Gerashchenko said.

The Presidential envoy added that one of the most difficult issues in prisoner release process is to establish the exact location of a person.

"The militants do not provide us with such information. We are gleaning all the information we possibly can, but now the whereabouts of only dozens of people are known," Gerashchenko explained.

The issue of prisoners' location was raised at the most recent Trilateral Contact Group meeting in Minsk on July 4, but the separatist representatives refused to answer.

Gerashchenko also reminded about the ongoing efforts to release Ukrainian political prisoners held in Russian jails.

"We've been knocking on all doors, searching for every possible way to release prisoners. Today, in Vatican the head of presidential administration Borys Lozhkin handed over the lists of the Ukrainian hostages to the Pope, asking for assistance in their release," the deputy parliament speaker wrote on Facebook.

On July 5, Ukrainian colonel Ivan Bezyazykov was freed from captivity after having spent two years in the militant prison.

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