MOSCOW, June 27. /TASS/. Moscow welcomes the handover of detained persons by the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR) to the Ukrainian side, Russian Foreign Ministry Deputy Spokesman Artyom Kozhin said on Thursday.
"This is an issue of direct contacts between Kiev, the DPR and the LPR, however, we welcome the fact [of the handover]," he said, commenting on Thursday’s meeting between head of the Political Council of the Ukrainian Party "Opposition Platform - For Life" Viktor Medvedchuk and DPR and LPR heads Denis Pushilin and Leonid Pasechnik.
On the outcomes of the meeting, Donbass republics’ leaders have agreed to release four detained persons as a gesture of good will. The handover of four prisoners held in the DPR and the LPR will take place on Friday in Minsk.
The Donbass republics’ leaders expect that this bilateral step would motivate the Ukrainian side to begin the process of the so-called "all identified for all identified" prisoner exchange in accordance with the Minsk Agreements. "The Ukrainian side continues to examine the exchange lists with the LPR and the DPR," Medvedchuk assured
On June 19, members of the political subgroup of the Contact Group for the settlement in eastern Ukraine have discussed the possibility of prisoner exchange and agreed to exchange the necessary information. According to DPR human rights commissioner Daria Morozova, the exchange of detained persons between the DPR and Ukraine may take place in autumn of this year, if the Ukrainian side fulfills all the conditions necessary to ensure this process.
The last large-scale exchange of detainees between Ukraine and the Donbass republics took place on December 27, 2017. Back then, Kiev exchanged 233 prisoners for 73 detained Ukrainian citizens. The parties underlined that the release of prisoners was not over and they would make every effort to continue this process. However, since then, the parties have been failing to reach new agreements on mutual release and exchange of prisoners.