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Russia Blocks Detainee Exchange, Demands to Involve Viktor Medvedchuk in Talks on Donbas

At a meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) on Donbas, the Russian side demanded that MP Halyna Tretyakova be removed from the delegation and replaced with Viktor Medvedchuk. Serhiy Harmash, journalist, representative of the Ukrainian delegation to TCG, posted on Facebook.

“The Russian side again practically blocked all issues of the humanitarian working group. Now, they are dictating to us who must be included in our delegation. More precisely, they demand to remove official representative of Ukraine Halyna Tretyakova, and replace her with Medvedchuk. They want to deal only with father of Putin’s godchild,” Harmash wrote.

According to him, the idea was even voiced to “give three women” from the non-government controlled areas within the framework of a unilateral exchange, but only through the mediation of Medvedchuk.

Harmash assured that Ukraine would not be under Russia’s thumb and no one was going to replace Tretyakova with Medvedchuk.

“Ukraine represented by the father of Putin’s godchild is an interesting image… Of course, no one will dictate to Ukraine who must be included in our delegation… In fact, they simply can no longer come up with comprehensive reasons for failing to comply with the Normandy format decisions on the detainee exchange and the opening of entry-exit checkpoints in Shchastya and Zolote. That is why they put forward absolutely absurd demands, which are impossible from the get-go, in order to block the activity of the working group,” the journalist said.

As a reminder, in May this year, Viktor Medvedchuk was charged with treason and attempted embezzlement of national resources in the occupied Crimea. On 8 October, the politician was charged with treason and aiding terrorism. The case concerns his participation in the illegal coal purchase schemes in the occupied Donbas from 2014-2015.

Earlier, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky stated that if the Russian Federation confirmed the Russian citizenship of MP Viktor Medvedchuk, he could be exchanged for captive Ukrainian citizens.

Bohdan Marusyak

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