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Prisoner swap could take place in Donbas soon — Ukraine Security Service adviser

August 18, 2015, 19:09 UTC+3 KIEV
Earlier, human rights commissioner of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) Darya Morozova said the number of captives held by the Ukrainian authorities totals 1,213 people
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© Valery Sharifulin/TASS

KIEV, August 18. /TASS/. A prisoner exchange could take place in Donbas soon, Yury Tandit, an adviser to the head of Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU), said on the 112 Ukraina TV channel.

"We have been holding talks since Monday and hope the release will take place within the next few days," Tandit said.

He claimed similar talks were disrupted earlier. "On Saturday, the release did not take place unfortunately," he said.

The official said a negotiating group on prisoner swap is working in Donetsk. He did not specify the formula in line with which the exchange should be held.

On Monday, August 17, Ukraine’s representative in the humanitarian issues subgroup of the Contact Group on Donbas, Irina Gerashchenko, said "2,852 Ukrainians have been released from captivity as of today."

Earlier, human rights commissioner of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) Darya Morozova said the number of captives held by the Ukrainian authorities totals 1,213 people. She said the possibility to free prisoners is currently being discussed at the talks, including at meetings in Minsk.

"We are expecting Kiev to adopt the law ‘On amnesty’ to switch over from the negotiating stage to practical actions," Morozova said.

The prisoner exchange in line with the "all for all" formula is a key point of the Package of Measures on implementation of the Minsk Agreements, which was signed February 12 in the Belarusian capital Minsk. The package also envisions "pardon and amnesty through enacting the law banning prosecution and punishment" of citizens in connection with events in Donbas.

Massive shelling of residential neighborhoods, including with the use of aviation, has killed thousands and led to a humanitarian disaster in east Ukraine since Kiev in April 2014 announced the start of an "antiterrorism operation" there, which involved the Armed Forces, the Interior Ministry’s National Guard and volunteer battalions made up of Euromaidan activists, many of whom hold far-right and neo-Nazi views.

Ukraine has regularly violated the ceasefire regime imposed as part of the Package of Measures on implementation of the September 2014 Minsk deals.

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