SBU adviser Yurii Tandit commented on the situation, Censor.NET reports.
"Ukraine is doing everything possible to bring the soldiers who remain in the 'DPR' captivity back. However, this issue has become particularly delicate, regarding strong interest of the both sides. Thus, the so-called DPR and LPR are trying to blackmail Ukrainian government. But one cannot seek publicity using such issues," Tandit said.
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According to the official, the Ukrainians who were illegally apprehended on the temporarily occupied Donetsk and Luhansk regions are illegally convicted by local self-proclaimed 'governments' or 'courts'.
Earlier, Darya Morozova, the Ombudsman of the so-called 'DPR,' told Russian media that Ukrainian soldiers captured by militants might be sentenced to death.
"Such arguments are always there when the next Minsk talks are approaching... The terrorists are trying to speak with us in terms of force," Tandit commented on the situation.
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The advisor to the head of the SBU has also clarified the number of prisoners on both sides.
"At the beginning of January, we were ready to release 535 people. Last year, according to the all-for-all exchange formula we legally released 222 prisoners. On theirs part, the militants have liberated more than a hundred Ukrainian prisoners," Tandit said.
According to Yurii Tandit, much more exchanges were planned, but failed because of the representatives of the 'republics'. The 'DPR' militants have no legal grounds for execution of Ukrainian prisoners, but the terrorists' refusal to follow Ukrainian legislation puts lives and health of the hostages in danger, he said.
"This is a very sensitive topic... You have to verify every word. We believe that we will manage to liberate all Ukrainians. Alas, there are crazy people among 'DPR' representatives," the official summarized.
Read more: Terrorists continue to use large-caliber weapons. Situation is traditionally tense in the vicinity of Donetsk - ATO press service
Death penalty is prohibited in Ukraine, while a moratorium on death penalty is introduced in Russia. At the same time, the 'DPR' has adopted Criminal Code of the Soviet Union (edition of 1961), which allows such punishment as execution.
However, the 'DPR courts' haven't sentenced to death even a single prisoner of war by now, although Ukrainian and international media occasionally report about extrajudicial executions in the occupied Donbas.
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Terrorists keep 137 civilian hostages: Russian mercenaries detain people who cross contact line, - Tandit(0)