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Rebels Suspend POW Exchanges Until Kiev Does More to Implement Minsk Deal

East Ukraine rebels want Kiev to form working groups for the implementation of the Minsk Agreement, which established the current ceasefire in February

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MOSCOW, April 5 (TASS) - Authorities of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) are suspending exchange of captives with Kiev till organisation of working sub-groups in the Contact Group, the republic’s representative at the Contract Group Denis Pushilin said on Sunday.

"It is necessary to stop the exchange of prisoners to an official settlement of the persons, who will be at the four working groups on implementation of the Minsk agreements," the Donetsk news agency quoted him.

He said, the Complex of Measures envisaged organisation of four sub-groups.

"There should be four groups: on the economy and recovery, on refugees and humanitarian support, on the constitutional reform and elections, and on security," he said.

"The exchange of prisoners could be responsibility of the working group on humanitarian support."

"The group could work on overcoming the gained disputes in numbers and ways of exchange," he said.

"For as long as we do not have them [the groups], there is no legal format for discussing and implementation of issues. Including the vital issues like exchange of the prisoners," Pushilin said.

On February 12, members of the Trilateral Contact Group on the Ukrainian conflict settlement signed a four-page set of measures to implement the earlier Minsk agreements.

A separate point of the document provides for release and exchange of all hostages and illegally held persons based on the "all for all" principle that should be completed after the weapons withdrawal - on the fifth day at the latest. The sides also agreed on restoring the Ukrainian side’s control over the state border throughout the conflict zone.

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