5 Sep 2019 09:39

Russia-Ukraine prisoner swap talks successful, will end soon - Medvedchuk

VLADIVOSTOK. Sept 5 (Interfax) - The talks on a prisoner swap between Russia and Ukraine will soon be successfully completed, according to head of the Ukrainian party Opposition Platform - For Life's Political Council Viktor Medvedchuk.

"The swap talks are in progress; as far as I know, they have been successful and will be finalized soon," Medvedchuk said in an interview with the television channel Rossiya 24 (VGTRK) on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok.

In his words, the talks have been active.

"I can assure you that the swap talks have been active and efficient. This is very important," Medvedchuk said.

He said he was planning to meet with Russian leaders on the forum's sidelines but did not say who he would meet with and when.

"I think there will be such talks and meetings; let us wait," Medvedchuk said in response to the question whether he might meet with Russian leaders at the forum.

Two diplomatic sources told Interfax on September 4 that Russia and Ukraine might start exchanging captives before the end of this week.

"The exchange may begin before the end of this week; the probable date is September 7," one of the sources said.

The other source confirmed that the swap had been scheduled to take place on Saturday but noted that the agreement was tentative.

"Only framework agreements have been reached as of yet. The sides will agree on the precise date and terms of the swap in the middle of the week," the source said.

The Kremlin declined to comment on reports suggesting that the prisoner swap might begin on September 7 due to the sensitivity of the issue.

"This is a sensitive issue. There can be no announcements in such sphere," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Interfax.

"The fact will be made known," he said.

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine, Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelensky, twice discussed the captives situation in their phone calls on July 12 and August 7.

Verkhovna Rada Human Rights Commissioner Liudmyla Denisova and her Russian counterpart Tatyana Moskalkova exchanged lists of captives in the middle of July. There were 150 names on the list presented by Denisova, and 34 on the list composed by Moskalkova.

Later on, press secretary of the Ukrainian prosecutor general Larysa Sargan said that "35 for 35" swap was being prepared.