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KIEV, June 25. /ITAR-TASS/. Ukrainian authorities launched an exchange of prisoners of war with the country’s south-eastern regions as the violent domestic conflict continues to rage across Ukraine, Acting Defense Minister Mykhailo Koval said on Wednesday.
Koval said that over ten people were freed as a result of the exchange plan, proposed earlier by recently elected President Petro Poroshenko.
“Everything goes in line with the scheduled plan, and there are no disruptions,” Koval said.
After Crimea’s incorporation by Russia, protests against the coup-imposed Kiev authorities erupted in Ukraine’s Russian-speaking southeastern regions, with demonstrators demanding referendums on the country’s federalization.
Kiev’s military operation against federalization supporters in Ukraine’s southeast involving armored vehicles, heavy artillery and attack aviation killed hundreds of people, including civilians, left residential and office buildings in ruins and forced tens of thousands Ukrainian citizens to flee the country.
The Donetsk and Luhansk regions, which border on Russia, held referendums on May 11, in which most voters supported independence from Ukraine. Georgia’s breakaway republic of South Ossetia recognized the independence of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) on June 18.
Despite periodical reports that the ceasefire has been violated by Kiev, self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) Prime Minister Alexander Borodai said Monday, June 23, after talks on implementation of Poroshenko’s peace plan, that militias in Ukraine’s embattled Southeast agreed to the ceasefire until June 27.