Delays in prisoner exchanges between the Ukrainian side and the Donbas militants are due to uncertainty about the date of the next Minsk meeting but also because many captive terrorists do not want to go back, said Olena Hitlinska, press secretary for the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), at a briefing on Wednesday, December 17, as reported by the Independent News Bureau.
“I think that everyone is waiting for the Minsk meeting (to begin the process for exchanging prisoners),” Hitlinska said. However, she also noted that among the terrorists held captive by the SBU there are many who do not want to go back.
“There are many people (in captivity) who are wanted by the terrorists, but these people refuse. They do not want to be exchanged. There are even Russian citizens among them,” she added.
She explained that one of the reasons for this reluctance is fear of torture. “A number of the people have begun cooperating with our forces and then they don’t want to go back. They’re afraid.”
Additionally, Hitlinska said that among the detained terrorists there are people who have crossed over to the Ukrainian side. She also noted that the delays in the prisoner exchanges are entirely because of the terrorists.
“The SBU has jurisdiction over a certain number of terrorists who want to return. We are ready to exchange all for all, and we are ready to do that today even,” she stressed.
Today in Warsaw Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said he hoped that all captive Ukrainians would be released by the end of the year, especially all those who are illegally detained in Russia, including Nadia Savchenko.