MAYORSK, December 27. /TASS/. The parties to the conflict in the Donbass region have begun to exchange prisoners, a TASS correspondent reported from the scene.
The prisoner swap was preceded by a procedure to specify the lists. It was earlier announced that the exchange would be carried out on the basis of the "306 for 74" formula. Information on the number of prisoners who are to be exchanged is not disclosed at the moment.
The exchange is being held near the Mayorsk checkpoint in the Gorlovka area.
The safety of the detainees due to be exchanged, authorized representatives of the parties to the negotiation process and on-site reporters is ensured by the armed officers of law enforcement agencies.
On Monday, December 25, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia said at a peacekeeping meeting with DPR head Alexander Zakharchenko, Acting Head of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) Leonid Pasechnik and Kiev’s envoy to the humanitarian subgroup Viktor Medvedchuk that Kiev and Donbass had reached an agreement on all conditions for the "306 for 74" prisoner swap scheduled for December 27.
All-for-all prisoner exchanges are one of the key provisions of the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements signed in the Belarusian capital of Minsk on February 12, 2015, after marathon talks between the leaders of Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine. However, no prisoner swaps have been held over the past 14 months.
In mid-November, Russian President Vladimir Putin had a meeting with Viktor Medvedchuk who asked the Russian leader to support his initiative concerning the prisoner swap. According to Medvedchuk, Ukraine is ready to release 306 people and expects Donetsk and Lugansk to release 74 individuals.
Later on, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Putin had a telephone conversation with the DPR and LPR heads who supported the initiative.