In a first, Ukrainian and Russian human rights officials met Monday during a prisoner exchange between the two sides.
Dmytro Lubinets, the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights, met with Tatyana Moskalkova, Russian Human Rights Commissioner, during the swap of more than 200 prisoners of war.
Moskalkova posted video of the meeting on Telegram. It is unclear where exactly the exchange took place.
In the video, Lubinets and Moskalkova approach each other on a deserted highway, shake hands, and have a brief exchange.
“Today is the day that our civilian sailors will be coming home,” Moskalkova told Lubinets. “It’s also important that we ensure that safe corridors exist for our work with the evacuated. We have a Iot of questions, but the most important is returning all their documents to them. So that’s what I am coming to you today for, and I’m here to help in the case that an evacuee or refugee needs a specific document or confirmation of their identity.”
“It’s an important humanitarian aspect in terms of social rights,” she said.
Lubinets replied that “we are exchanging lists, and I request that you will work through it and be in touch on what’s possible.”
“Most importantly, we have activated the process of exchanging civilians of our countries. I’m sure that you want this as much as we do.”
Moskalkova said that “certainly everyone is interested in this path forward.”
In a summation of the meeting posted on Telegram, Moskalkova said that she “met for the first time with Commissioner for Human Rights of Ukraine Dmitry Valeryevich Lubinets. We had a constructive dialogue and agreed to continue working to ensure the proper treatment of prisoners, keep working for future exchanges, to protect the rights of civilians, and learn the fate of missing persons.”
Lubinets, on his Telegram account, said that “the need for negotiations is the humanitarian sphere.”
“In particular, we talked about the need to intensify the repatriation of prisoners of war and the release of civilian hostages,” he said.
He said that the two discussed, among other things, the need to “develop ways to visit prisoners of war, inspect places of their detention, both on the territory controlled by the Russian Federation and in Ukraine” and “thorough searches for missing persons.”
They also discussed Ukraine’s desire to visit prisoners of war held in Olenivka, which is in an occupied portion of the Donetsk region.
“At the end of the meeting, it was agreed to send official letters for the implementation of the discussed tasks involving the protection of human rights,” Lubinets said.