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New prisoner swap in Donbass likely soon, says Russian envoy

The Contact Group’s meeting is scheduled for May 4

GORKI, April 27./TASS/. A new prisoner exchange in Donbass is possible shortly, Russia’s Representative to the Contact Group for Ukraine Boris Gryzlov told reporters on Friday.

"We are working on the possibility for an exchange under the ‘all-for-all’ formula, however it is clear that it will be a step-by-step swap, because ‘all-for-all’ will be a difficult task. Lists are being verified at the moment. I think that a next possibility for a major exchange will emerge shortly," Gryzlov noted.

He also reiterated that the Contact Group’s next meeting is scheduled for May 4.

Speaking about the swap’s proportion, Gryzlov said, "I believe the ratio must be one to five". "There are five times more detainees on the territory controlled by the Ukrainian armed forces than in the republics, i.e. five detainees from the republics of Donbass for one Ukrainian representative," he emphasized.

The prisoner swap issue remains one of the key points of the Minsk agreements. The last and biggest Donbass prisoner swap took place on December 27, 2017. Kiev handed over 233 prisoners to the Donbass republics and received 73 prisoners in return. Both parties stressed that the prisoner exchange process had not been completed and they were determined to do everything possible to continue it in 2018.