LUGANSK, September 9. /ITAR-TASS/. The self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) and Kiev will soon swap some 200 captives, LPR leader Igor Plotnitsky said Tuesday.
“We are interested in the return of our people. The key principle is ‘all for all’. We are to exchange some 200 captives from both sides soon,” Plotnitsky told journalists.
He said the captives list is being specified because “stray or hiding Ukrainian servicemen are constantly surrendering” on LPR territories.
The trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine (Russia, Ukraine and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) and representatives of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and LPR agreed in Minsk on September 5 on cessation of fire in Ukraine’s embattled southeast.
The Contact Group’s meeting came two days after Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested his seven-item plan to settle the crisis in Ukraine after a phone conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart Pyotr Poroshenko.
The OSCE published the text of the protocol on joint steps to settle the crisis in Ukraine, adopted September 5, on September 7. The document contains 12 steps, including non-use of weapons and monitoring of the ceasefire regime by the OSCE, as well as establishment of a safety zone in border regions between Ukraine and Russia.
The document also says power should be decentralized in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions of Ukraine (DPR and LPR), hostages freed, combat operations participants given guarantees that they will not be prosecuted and nationwide dialogue continued.
Fierce clashes between troops loyal to Kiev and local militias in the southeastern Ukrainian Donetsk and Lugansk regions during Kiev’s military operation to regain control over the breakaway territories, which call themselves the DPR and LPR, have killed hundreds of civilians, brought massive destruction and forced hundreds of thousands to flee Ukraine’s war-torn southeast.