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Kiev ready for prisoner swap — defense ministry spokesman

March 18, 2015, 20:43 UTC+3 KIEV
Currently about 400 Ukrainian servicemen are held by self-defense forces while 200 self-defense fighters and up to 800 civilians are held by the Ukrainian side
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© Taras Dudnik/TASS

KIEV, March 18. /TASS/. The Ukrainian side is ready to hold a prisoner exchange at an early date, head of the center to assist the release of prisoners and hostages affiliated to the Ukrainian Defense Ministry Yury Tandit told TV channel 112.

"The Ukrainian side is ready at any moment, as early as tomorrow, to take prisoners [held by Kiev] to a safe place and to release them," Tandit said. The sides are coordinating the necessary procedures, he explained, adding that they’re now discussing the lists of the prisoners that are due to be released.

Earlier, the head of the Investigation Department at the Security Service of Ukraine Vasily Vovk said that the next prisoner swap could take place on Wednesday. He noted that currently about 400 Ukrainian servicemen were held by self-defense forces.

The two sides maintain an active dialogue on prisoner exchange, human rights ombudsperson of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) Darya Morozova told TASS on Wednesday. "We’re currently engaged in intensive negotiations with the Ukrainian side and are preparing the lists of prisoners," she said.

Meanwhile, leader of the Donetsk People’s Republic Alexander Zakharchenko said that DPR was so far not planning to take part in prisoner exchanges. "I’ve suspended prisoner swaps until Ukraine begins to implement the Minsk agreements," he said.

According to Darya Morozova, 200 self-defense fighters and up to 800 civilians are held by the Ukrainian side. The authorities of the Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) hope that Kiev will release at least 160 militia fighters any time soon.

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