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Agency for prisoner swap between government forces and DPR militias set up in Ukraine

October 07, 2014, 17:47 UTC+3 KIEV
More than 1,200 people have been released since the Contact Group on Ukraine reached agreements in Minsk on September 5, however the latest prisoner exchange took place on September 28
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©  ITAR-TASS/Konstantin Sazonchik

KIEV, October 7. /TASS/. An agency for prisoner swap between the Ukrainian government and militia in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic has been set up in Ukraine, Andrei Lysenko from the Ukrainian Council for National Security and Defense said on Tuesday.

“A special coordinating agency has been set up to deal with these issues. Work does not stop, with both secret services, non-governmental organisations and serving officers taking part,” Lysenko said.

According to him, more than 1,200 people have been released since the Contact Group on Ukraine reached agreements in the Belarussian capital Minsk on September 5, with prisoner exchange among the key items.

However, the latest prisoner exchange took place on September 28 at the rate of 30 Ukrainian law enforcers for 60 militia personnel.

Lysenko tried to lay the blame for delays in the prisoner exchange process upon eastern Ukrainian militia, saying they were allegedly “advancing new demands”.

Prisoner swaps between Ukrainian government forces and Donetsk People’s Republic militias have been halted for several days as officials of the self-proclaimed territory say authorities in Kiev have failed to meet militia demands.

Kiev officials were refusing to release personal identification documents for captives being handed over after detention by government forces in the northeast city of Kharkov, Darya Morozova, head of the republic’s committee for refugees and prisoners-of-war told TASS on Tuesday.

Without documents accompanying the captives, they would be destined for a wanted list, lacking identities on their return and barred legitimacy in any territory beyond east Ukraine, Morozova said.

This violates a number of agreements, including that on amnesty, Morozova said.

Prisoner exchange is one of the key points in agreements reached at a Minsk, Belarus, meeting of the international Contact Group on settling the Ukraine conflict.

Five exchanges have taken place so far, swapping prisoners at the rate of 37 for 37, 70 for 70, 38 for 38, 28 for 28 and 30 Ukrainian law enforcers for 60 militia personnel.

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