Russia-backed militants hold 107 Ukrainians prisoner, including 64 Ukrainian militaries.
This was reported by Iryna Gerashchenko - Ukrainian President's envoy on a peaceful settlement of the situation in Donetsk and Luhansk regions (Trilateral Contact Group) and first deputy speaker of the Ukrainian parliament.
"Currently, 107 Ukrainians, including 64 soldiers, are held hostage in the militant-controlled areas of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions. During the recent Minsk meeting, we managed to get a confirmation (from militants) that 45 Ukrainians are detained - not 20, as militants claimed earlier. It is a big and difficult job to find a man. 10 Ukrainian prisoners are held in Russian prisons, we are working in various formats, we are looking for tools to get them released. We had better not reveal all details at meetings if we want to achieve results," said Gerashchenko.
She stated that she considers it important and positive that the UN mission representatives were allowed to see the Ukrainian hostages last week - for the first time in two years.
"We constantly insist during the negotiations in Minsk that international humanitarian missions and the ICRC are given access to prisons in the occupied territories," said Gerashchenko.
"We are working to bring good news to all relatives of hostages and those reported missing
(498 people are now reported missing, 345 of them are civilians)", said Ukrainian President's envoy.
She added that the Ukrainian party, together with the Security Service and the Minsk Group, managed to get more than 80 Ukrainians released within a year.