Russia's Commissioner for Human Rights, Tatyana Moskalkova, has denied she has authority to hold talks with her Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Lubynets on a mass prisoners-of-war exchange.
This task is within the competence of the Ministry of Defence, Moskalkova claimed on Telegram on Jan. 17.
"In our talks with Ukraine's Ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets in Ankara we never raised the question of a (mass) POW swap, as I have always emphasized that such tasks are within the competence of the Russia's Ministry of Defence," she wrote on Telegram.
Moskalkova added the swap in question concerns 800 Ukrainians on the one hand and 200 Russians on the other hand. She said she considers such an exchange as "unequal" and "unjust."
Russia's Ombudsperson added that repatriation of wounded servicemen "has a completely different legal nature and different approaches laid down by the Geneva Convention on Prisoners of War of 1949."
In January a series of meetings of the Ukrainian and Russian Commissioners for Human Rights, Dmytro Lubinets and Tetiana Moskalkova, took place in Ankara, mediated by Turkey.
Lubinets said they discussed the issue of civilians Russia has held prisoner since 2014. The list of political prisoners of the Kremlin from Ukraine contains 158 names, mostly Crimean Tatars.
Turkish Ombudsman Şeref Malkoç claimed Ukraine and Russia discussed a mass POW swap. He said Ukraine prepared a list of 800 prisoners and Russia named 200 people.
The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has announced his intent to establish a humanitarian corridor to Turkey for soldiers injured in the war in Ukraine.