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21 Jun, 2018 15:33

Russian, Ukrainian presidents discuss Donbass settlement and prisoner exchange by phone

Russian, Ukrainian presidents discuss Donbass settlement and prisoner exchange by phone

The Russian president expressed concern over reports of new civilian casualties in Donbass during a telephone call with his Ukrainian counterpart. He also stated that the Minsk Accords were the only way to a peaceful settlement.

The Kremlin press service revealed details of the conversation between Vladimir Putin and Petro Poroshenko to reporters on Thursday, emphasizing that the contact had been initiated by the Ukrainian side.

The two leaders discussed a number of issues relating to the Donbass settlement with reference to the June consultations between representatives of the ‘Normandy Four’ – Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany – which negotiated, passed and control the implementation of the peace plan known as the Minsk Accords.

The Russian president expressed concern over the security situation in the Donbass region, and reports of new casualties caused by frequent artillery raids by the Ukrainian military.

Putin stated that there was no alternative to fulfilling the Minsk Accords as the foundation of a peaceful settlement in Donbass.

The two presidents also discussed the realization of the Russian proposal to set up a permanent United Nations security mission in Donbass.

They also touched upon the topic of prisoner exchange and access by human rights officials to Russian citizens detained in Ukraine, and Ukrainian citizens detained in Russia.

The Ukrainian president’s press service noted that Poroshenko asked Putin to ensure that Ukrainian Ombudsman Lyudmila Denisova be allowed to see Oleg Sentsov, a citizen of Russia and Ukraine who is currently serving a 20-year sentence in Russia for terrorism. Sentsov was charged with offences including creation of a terrorist group, carrying out two terrorist attacks, and preparing two other attacks, as well as illegally dealing weapons and explosives.

The last time the two men spoke by telephone was June 9, when they agreed that human rights officials from both countries would be allowed to visit citizens that are being detained in the other country.

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