7 Jun 2018 09:41

Russian representatives in Minsk have no authority to discuss Russians-for-Ukrainians swap - TCG

MOSCOW. June 7 (Interfax) - The Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine (TCG) is perplexed by Kyiv's proposal that 23 Russians be exchanged for incarcerated Ukrainian citizens and believes that this request goes beyond the TCG format.

"The Contact Group's powers are clearly defined. Russian representatives at the humanitarian subgroup are designated mediators at the negotiations between Kyiv and Donbas and have no other powers," a representative of the group organizing the negotiations told Interfax.

"Consultations of the sort go beyond the Contact Group's format. The letter sent by Kyiv to the Russian representatives at the humanitarian subgroup requesting the exchange of certain individuals looks odd to say the least," the representative said.

"Russia and Ukraine are able to discuss various issues directly," he added.

"Discussions of the sort should be held on a different platform. They have no relation to the Minsk process," the representative said.

The Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada First Vice-Speaker and representative at the humanitarian subgroup, Iryna Herashchenko said she had sent a letter to Russian representatives proposing the exchange of 23 Russians for Ukrainians incarcerated in Russian territory.

Herashchenko asked the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry to officially publish her letter to the Russian Foreign Ministry. She said Russian representatives stated at the TCG talks that the future of 23 convicted Russians was not an item on the agenda of the Minsk negotiations.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said on Wednesday that Kyiv would have to file a formal request for discussing the exchange of Ukrainians convicted in Russia for Russian citizens.