President's Commissioner for peaceful settlement of the conflict in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, First Vice Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Iryna Herashchenko wrote on Facebook, Censor.NET reports.
"On behalf of President Poroshenko, following my own convictions, and obeying the voice of my heart, I did everything in my province and power to promote the release of Ukrainian hostages. We were able to release 80 prisoners during the year that I spent as a participant in this process together with the Security Service and the Minsk group (on release of hostages, which is also represented by Viktor Medvedchuk). Nadiia Savchenko, whose release many people of good will, diplomats, and politicians took part in, is also among them. I know the extent of efforts the president personally made for that as he was forced to hold several rounds of talks about her release with Putin. The issue of the liberation of other captives held in prisons in the occupied territories and the Russian Federation was tackled at each of these telephone conversations.
"We take every effort daily to be able to proclaim good news. We managed to free Yurii Soloshenko and Hennadii Afanasiev in June. Ivan Beziazykov, whom we were searching for almost two years, was liberated in July thanks to the SBU. 107 people, including 64 military and 43 civilians are currently held hostage by the "Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics". As much as 45 persons from this list, instead of 20 previously claimed by the militants, were confirmed at the last meeting in Minsk. Finding a person requires sustainable and hard efforts. 10 political prisoners remain in Russian prisons. We also make a variety of efforts in this direction seeking the ways to release them. And I doubt that all the details can be disclosed at the meetings, if we want to succeed," she said.
"I believe it significant and positive that the UN mission was granted access to the hostages last week for the first time in two years. In Minsk, we constantly insist that the international humanitarian missions and the ICRC must obtain access to prisons in the occupied territories. We take every effort for the relatives of all the hostages and missing persons to get good news (498 persons are currently missing including 345 civilians). This is a hard process indeed and we are constantly disclosing details that we can tell today without doing harm including at personal meetings. What could the MPs possibly do for the families of the hostages? They could adopt a law on payments to the families of the hostages at the very least. We will try to vote this law vital for the families of hostages in the first week of September. We also prepare to hold negotiations in Minsk Aug. 26," Iryna Herashchenko summed up.
Earlier, a rally was held outside Presidential Administration building in Kyiv with demands to accelerate the release of Ukrainian POWs and political prisoners Aug. 8.
Related materials: Ukrainian hostages in Russia