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All-for-all exchange of POWs in Ukraine to begin September 9

September 08, 2014, 17:40 UTC+3 DONETSK
DPR Vice Premier Andrei Purgin told ITAR-TASS that the detained militiamen were being brought to Kharkiv and expressed hope that “they will be exchanged by the hundreds”
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Prisoners of war in Donetsk

Prisoners of war in Donetsk

© ITAR-TASS/Konstantin Sazonchik

DONETSK, September 08. /ITAR-TASS/. The Ukrainian army and militias are planning to start exchanging POWs from September 9, a senior official in the government of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) said on Monday.

DPR Vice Premier Andrei Purgin told ITAR-TASS that the detained militiamen were being brought to Kharkiv and expressed hope that “they will be exchanged by the hundreds”.

The exchange of POWs is one of the problems that can be solved first. “If we do not exchange all for all, then we are not worth a dime. European institutions will also be upset because this condition has been put forth for two or three months but never met,” Purgin said.

There are “about a thousand [POWs] on either side], he said, adding that the Ukrainian army was holding about 360 militiamen and some 600 were missing.

Purgin said reports that the next meeting of the Contact Group on Ukraine would take place in Minsk in 7-8 days was tentative as no meeting “has been planned yet”.

“It has been proposed to meet in a week’s time, but no concrete date was agreed,” he added.

On September 3, Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed a peace plan for settling the conflict in eastern Ukraine. It calls for ending active offensive operations by armed forces, armed units and militia groups in southeast Ukraine in the Donetsk and Luhansk areas; withdrawing Ukrainian armed forces units to a distance that would make it impossible to fire on populated areas using artillery and all types of multiple launch rocket systems; allowing for full and objective international monitoring of compliance with the ceasefire and monitoring of the situation in the safe zone created by the ceasefire.

The plan also suggests excluding all use of military aircraft against civilians and populated areas in the conflict zone; organizing the exchange of individuals detained by force on an ‘all for all’ basis without any preconditions; opening humanitarian corridors for refugees and for delivering humanitarian cargoes to towns and populated areas in Donbass — Donetsk and Luhansk regions; and making it possible for repair brigades to come to damaged settlements in the Donbass region in order to repair and rebuild social facilities and life-supporting infrastructure and help the region to prepare for the winter.

At its meeting in Minsk, Belarus, on Friday, the Contact Group on the resolution of the conflict in Ukraine adopted a peace plan and a ceasefire agreement.

Attending the meeting were officials from Kiev, representatives of the embattled south-eastern regions of Ukraine, officials from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and Russia.

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