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Donetsk official says Ukrainian authorities drag out prisoners swap

September 10, 2014, 15:09 UTC+3 DONETSK
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said that some 700 Ukrainian soldiers captured by self-defense forces during combat actions in the embattled Ukraine’s southeast had been released
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© ITAR-TASS

DONETSK, September 10. /ITAR-TASS/. Kiev is responsible for the delay in the earlier announced prisoners swap between the Ukrainian authorities and the Donetsk People’s Republic and the exchange is likely to be rescheduled for Thursday, the republic’s first deputy prime minister said on Wednesday.

“As far as I know the delay is caused by the Ukrainian side, which refuses to establish a contact,” Andrei Purgin said.

However, he said the prisoners swap can still take place today “but it remains highly doubtful.”

DPR Prime Minister Alexander Zakharchenko said on Tuesday that official Kiev and his republic agreed on a 36 for 36 prisoners of war exchange on Wednesday.

Speaking earlier in the day at a governmental session in Kiev, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said that some 700 Ukrainian soldiers captured by self-defense forces during combat actions in the embattled Ukraine’s southeast had been released since the ceasefire agreement came into force last Friday.

The trilateral Contact Group on the resolution of the Ukrainian conflict, comprising Russia, Ukraine and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and representatives of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR) agreed in Minsk on September 5 on cessation of fire in Ukraine’s embattled southeast.

The ceasefire agreement came into force at 6:00 p.m. local time (15:00 GMT) on Friday, September 5.

The Contact Group’s meeting came two days after Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested his seven-point plan to settle the crisis in Ukraine after a phone conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart Poroshenko.

Fierce clashes between troops loyal to Kiev and local militias in the southeastern Ukrainian Donetsk and Luhansk regions during Kiev’s military operation to regain control over the breakaway territories, which call themselves the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s republics left thousands killed, inflicted massive destruction and forced hundreds of thousands to flee Ukraine’s southeast.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said on Monday that according to latest UN estimations at least 3,000 people were killed since the conflict erupted in mid-April.

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