President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky has stated that his team currently addresses the issue of return of Ukrainians held in Russia and annexed Crimea.
“Many our people are still held in the Russian Federation and a lot of them have been taken from Crimea. This is another issue we currently address,” Zelensky told journalists at the Boryspil airport, where he met Ukrainians released from militant captivity on December 29, an Ukrinform correspondent reported.
As reported, on December 29, the detainee exchange between Ukraine and the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic” and “Luhansk People’s Republic” took place at the Mayorske entry-exit checkpoint in Donetsk region.
Seventy-six people returned to Ukraine. Ukraine transferred 127 detainees, being ready to transfer 141 people, but 14 of them refused to return to the militant-controlled territory.
On December 9, the President of the French Republic, the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, the President of the Russian Federation and the President of Ukraine stated at the Normandy format summit in Paris that the parties would take measures to encourage the Trilateral Contact Group to contribute to release and exchange of the conflict-related detainees by the end of the year on “all-for-all” basis, starting with “all identified for all identified” principle on the understanding that international organizations, including the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), would be given full and unconditional access to all detained persons.