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KIEV, August 4. /TASS/. The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has included about 240 people in the lists of prisoners of war (POW) allegedly held by the people’s militia in the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics (DPR and LPR) in the southeast of Ukraine, Ukraine’s representative in the Contact Group Irina Gerashchenko wrote on her Facebook page on Tuesday.
"There are some 240 Ukrainians in the lists compiled by SBU jointly with the Defense Ministry and volunteers. We demand their release," wrote Gerashchenko, who is Ukrainian president’s envoy for the settlement of the conflict in the southeast of the country and member of the humanitarian subgroup in the Contact Group.
After the Contact Group negotiations in the Belarusian capital Minsk, DPR chief negotiator Denis Pushilin said that the sides in the Contact Group have reached understanding on the issue of exchange of prisoners of war. "The issue of prisoner exchange is significant. Some mutual understanding on it has been reached," he said.
After the negotiations of the Contact Group in Minsk, Pushilin urged Ukrainian authorities "to promptly transfer the prisoners who are to be exchanged according to the ‘all for all’ principle and grant amnesty and pardon to all the rest by the enactment of the corresponding law," he said.
According to him, DPR currently holds 40 prisoners "from among Ukraine’s paramilitary units." "Twenty-eight prisoners are under investigation on suspicion of committing grave crimes. The procedures in respect of 12 remaining persons have been completed and they are ready for the exchange," Pushilin said, adding that there are a total of 5 prisoners held by LPR and all of them have been prepared for the exchange.
Pushilin also said that since the conclusion of the Minsk accords, DPR has handed over to Kiev 317 prisoners and 509 bodies of Ukrainian army soldiers killed in hostilities. "Last spring we handed over the remains of 509 servicemen, whose bodies had been found at the sites of combat operations on the compound of the Donetsk airport and in the town of Debaltsevo," Pushilin said.
A peaceful resolution of the armed civil conflict in eastern Ukraine is based on the accords that the Contact Group reached on September 5 and September 20, 2014, and on February 12, 2015.