The statement from Ukrainian ombudsman Lyudmila Denisova that the DPR and the LPR are currently detaining 251 Ukrainian citizens in their territories does not correspond to reality, DPR Human Rights Commissioner Darya Morozova claimed today, on December 30.
“The announced number indicates only one thing — the Ukrainian human rights advocate and representatives of Kiev to the Contact Group’s humanitarian subgroup on the settlement of the crisis in Donbass do not communicate and do not interact. I draw this conclusion based on the official requests and lists that Kiev sends us. According to the above-mentioned documents, today Ukraine is searching for 69 people in the DPR and 22 people in the LPR. In total, this does not make even half of the number that Denisova announced. Expressing concern over the fate of her compatriots allegedly held in “torture chambers of the occupier”, the Ukrainian ombudswoman is not only wrong about the numbers, but also misses an important fact. The matter is that among these “illegally imprisoned” defenders and patriots of Ukraine, there are people often convicted of conventional crimes. And some of them they committed back during the pre-war period. There is a striking example: of the nine citizens who the DPR transferred to Ukraine at the request of Kiev officials during the exchange in April 2020, six (!) had a criminal record for crimes against life and health, property, and sexual inviolability, including murder, robbery, and rape. That is, those people have nothing to do with the conflict. One can only guess why Ukraine needs them and why they are regarded as victims of the conflict. Both as a person and as a human rights defender, I sincerely regret and am extremely concerned that not a single full-fledged exchange of detainees took place between the DPR and Ukraine in 2020. However, the blame for this rests entirely with Kiev, which in every way evades its obligations to implement the Complex of Measures and the “procedural clearance” of 50 people previously transferred to the DPR as part of the exchange. I believe that the ombudswoman of Ukraine should focus not on statistics, but on the protection of the legal status of these citizens in this situation. After all, by continuing criminal prosecution of the released people, Ukraine grossly violates their personal, property, civil and social rights. It is equally important to focus efforts on protecting the interests of those citizens still detained in the territory of Ukraine. Over the past five years, the OHCHR has regularly documented in its reports crimes that Ukraine committed against the civilian population on the grounds of the events in Donbass. There have been numerous reported cases of arbitrary detention of people, imprisonment in unofficial places, incommunicado detention, cruel treatment and torture, restrictions on freedom of movement, obstruction of access to justice, etc. However, no one has ever been punished for that. The ombudswoman of Ukraine never initiated any investigations into those facts. At the same time, I would like to remind you that the DPR is searching for 103 people in Ukraine. The videos in the public domain confirm that some of the people were arrested in Ukraine back in 2014-2015. However, despite our numerous requests, we have not received any information from Kiev on any of these citizens. This, to my deep regret, suggests that some of the people on our list are no longer alive. I have repeatedly informed the Ukrainian side about the problem of Kiev's failure to comply with the “procedural clearance” and about the “list 103”. However, it did not bring any positive results. At the same time, I am convinced that if the ombudswoman of Ukraine and representatives of the law enforcement system of that state had the desire and cooperated closely, Kiev could fulfill its obligations in short order, which would allow proceeding to negotiations on new stages of the exchange,” Darya Morozova stressed.