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“This is the most reasonable approach in our view and we are not going to accept a “five to five” or “twenty to twenty” formula again,” Purgin said.
According to him, the “twenty-to twenty” scheme which the trilateral contact group adopted in Minsk early in August on the Ukrainian side’s initiative was a compromise on the part of the militias.
“We agreed to that step to demonstrate progress but that does not mean that we have reached an agreement in principle to exchange prisoners in groups. We are not going to agree to such steps in future,” Purgin stressed.The vice-premier of the Donetsk People’s Republic told ITAR-TASS late in July that, according to official figures, the Ukrainian army has captured about 350 militias but their number could be larger.
“These are just official figures. But it is hard for me to suggest the exact number of prisoners. According to various estimates, the militias are holding about 155 Ukrainian troopers in captivity,” Purgin said.
The militias and Ukrainian army swapped prisoners in mid-August. On the whole, a total of 52 people have been exchanged.