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Donetsk republic released 550 prisoners of war since August 2014, says authority

May 20, 2015, 17:49 UTC+3 MOSCOW
"The Ukrainian side, for its part, has returned to us 564 prisoners, less than 200 of them being militias," official said
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© EPA/ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO

MOSCOW, May 20. /TASS/. The self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic has returned to Kiev 550 prisoners since the commission on prisoners of war was launched in August 2014, Liliya Rodionova from the commission told the Donetsk news agency on Wednesday.

"The Ukrainian side, for its part, has returned to us 564 prisoners, less than 200 of them being militias," she said. She also said those returned to Kiev had been seized in combat, while most of those released and returned to the republic were civilians.

She dismissed earlier statements of Ukrainian volunteer Yuri Trandit, who said more than 2,500 Ukrainian military had been released in the DPR, saying he was not involved in prisoner swaps any longer. "Ukrainian volunteer Yuri Tandit took part only in the first two exchanges, after which we refused to work with him as he had brought discredit upon himself," Rodionova said.

She also said prisoner swaps began in May 2014, before the commission was set up.

The "all for all" prisoner swap is one of the key points in the Package of Measures on implementation of the September 2014 Minsk agreements, signed in Minsk on February 12.

The package in particular included an agreement on cessation of fire from February 15, withdrawal of heavy armaments, as well as measures on long-term political settlement of the situation in Ukraine, including enforcement of a special self-rule status for certain districts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

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