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MOSCOW, February 19. /TASS/. The self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic is prepared to guarantee the security of OSCE monitors in the area of Debaltsevo and to exchange prisoners of war taken in the area, using the "all-for-all" pattern, the Donetsk Republic’s representative in the Contact Group, Denis Pushilin, said on Thursday.
"With the stabilization of the situation in Debaltsevo and the adjoining territories the Donetsk Republic will be prepared to ensure the security of the OSCE mission at any place of the region," the Donetsk News Agency quotes Pushilin as saying.
He declared that Donetsk was prepared for direct talks on the exchange of Ukrainian troops taken prisoner near Debaltsevo "with Kiev’s representative in the contact group Viktor Medvedchuk, who enjoys the reputation of a competent and honest negotiator."
Earlier on Thursday the leader of the Donetsk Republic, Alexander Zakharchenko, said the militias had gained full control of Debaltsevo.
"We are through with combing Debaltsevo," the Donetsk News Agency quotes him as saying. "Regrettably, the Ukrainian authorities had ignored the calls for laying down arms. The losses of the Ukrainian armed forces are estimated at 3,000-3,500 men killed."
He declared that the bodies would begin to be handed over later on Thursday. The authorities of the self-proclaimed Donetsk Republic were going to release all those who had surrendered, Zakharchenko added.
"We are about to start releasing the prisoners of war who have already surrendered and keep surrendering," he said.
Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko on Wednesday evening declared 2,475 Ukrainian military and 200 pieces of equipment had been pulled out of Debaltsevo.