Ukraine’s negotiator, chief of the Center for Prisoner Release of the Ukrainian Officer Corps Public Organization Vladimir Ruban said on Monday prisoner exchange in Donbass has been frustrated as Ukraine’s Security Service banned him from entering eastern territories not controlled by Kiev.
"Today’s exchange that was to be carried out outside the Minsk agreements has been frustrated because I could not enter that territory [that is not controlled by Kiev - TASS]," he told Ukraine’s Public TV.
Ruban was detained by Ukrainian border guards at the Maryinka checkpoint in the Donetsk region.
However he said he is confident the exchange of prisoners will take place after all.
On February 24-25, Ukrainian lawmaker Nadezhda Savchenko, Vladimir Ruban and human rights ombudswoman of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) Darya Morozova visited Ukrainian prisoners. On Friday, they visited six Ukrainian citizens kept at the Western penal colony in Makeyevka. On the following day, they visited 30 more prisoners kept in the DPR and handed over to them letters and parcels from their families.
During the trip, Savchenko called on the Normandy Four leaders to push for the all-for-all prisoner exchange.
On Monday, Ukraine’s Security Service Spokeswoman Elena Gitlyanskaya wrote on her Twitter account that Ruban’s permit for crossing the contact line had been revoked. Later on, Georgy Tuka, a deputy minister for the affairs of Donbass territories not controlled by Kiev, told the Apostrof media outlet that the ban would not hamper the exchange process. "Ruban was bumped from this process long ago as he demonstrated no progress," he said.