ANKARA (QHA) -

The Russian side is trying to use the issue of Ukrainian political prisoners to destabilize the situation within Ukraine, the Ukrainian Embassy in Turkey stated, as cited by the Turkish QHA service.

"Obviously, the Russian side is trying to use the issue of Ukrainian political prisoners on the territory of the Russian Federation and in the occupied Crimea, as well as the issue of Ukrainian hostages being held captive by Russian-backed militants in the Donbas to destabilize the situation within Ukraine. Strictly speaking, now Moscow is putting a lot of efforts in many directions for this purpose,” the Ukrainian embassy said in a statement.

Answering the question about the exchange of Russian citizens for Ukrainian political prisoners in the Russian Federation, the embassy noted that Moscow is in no hurry to respond to such initiatives.

“On August 16, the Ukrainian Ombudsperson Lyudmila Denisova noted that 22 Russian citizens who were in prisons in Ukraine sent their appeals to Russian President Putin requesting to be included in the list of exchange for Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia. The Ukrainian side is ready for such an exchange. But Moscow keeps silent. It is also silent in response to the Ukraine’s proposal to hold a meeting of the Ombudspersons of the two countries in Minsk within the framework of the tripartite contact group on the settlement of the situation in certain regions of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions on August 21-22, during which the Ukrainian side intends to suggest an exchange of Russian citizens in Ukrainian prisons, for Ukrainian citizens who are imprisoned for political reasons on the territory of Russia," the embassy said.

Previously, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko stated he was ready to pardon 11 Russian citizens convicted in Ukraine for serious crimes in exchange for the release of Kremlin prisoners. Russian citizens appealed to President Vladimir Putin with a request to return them to Russia in exchange for Ukrainian political prisoners.

QHA