Kuleba: Ukraine demands release of Crimean Tatars

Kuleba: Ukraine demands release of Crimean Tatars

The prisoner swap is the most difficult part of all negotiations with Russia. As for the Crimean Tatars, the Ukrainian side seeks to release them, not exchange.

"Prisoner swap is probably the most delicate and sensitive part of all negotiations with Russia because it concerns people’s destinies, it concerns their relatives who are waiting for news, so we never disclose any personal details of prisoners who can be potentially swapped, or the deadlines," Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba said in an interview with Turkish TV channel TRT Russian.

He assured that the Ukrainian side is ready to proceed to the next round of swap.

“This is something that we are permanently working on, and we are ready to proceed to another round of swap. However, the other side is not as constructive as we are, so there are many new issues which are pending solution before it [swap] can happen. But we are absolutely focused on making sure that the formula ‘all for all’ will be implemented," Kuleba said.

As for the inclusion of Crimean Tatars in the exchange lists, Kuleba stressed that Ukraine aims to release them, not exchange.

"When we speak about Crimean Tatars, we only demand the release of these people. And this is the most difficult part because Russia considers Crimea as its jurisdiction," the Ukrainian Foreign Minister said.

Moscow is responsible for what is happening in the occupied territories, Kuleba stressed.

"Crimea is and will for some years remain an illegally occupied territory. According to international law, the Russian Federation as an occupying power bears all responsibility for what is happening on the peninsula... Any action that contradicts its obligations as an occupying power will bring to responsibility, they will have to carry responsibility for that, including all kinds of restrictions," Kuleba said.

He also reminded that Ukraine, the international community and Turkey, in particular, stand that Crimea is the illegally occupied territory, which determines Russia's difficult position on this issue.

Earlier, Dmytro Kuleba stated that the lack of water in the annexed Crimea was a consequence of the actions of the Russian Federation as an occupying power, for which it is fully responsible, and Ukraine would not supply water to the peninsula until its de-occupation.


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