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Moscow seeks all-for-all prisoner swap with Kiev

A certain effort in this direction is continuing, the Kremlin spokesman noted

SOCHI, October 4. /TASS/. Russia seeks to carry out an all-for-all prisoner swap with Ukraine and an effort to arrange it is continuing, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Friday.

"Russia would be glad to carry out an all-for-all prisoner swap, this should be an ultimate goal," Peskov said, noting that everything depends on whether Moscow and Kiev are ready. "A certain effort in this direction is continuing," he noted.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadim Pristaiko announced on October 3 that a large-scale prisoner swap would be carried out next week, giving no other details.

On September 7, Russia and Ukraine swapped prisoners on the ‘35 for 35’ formula.

Signing of Steinmeier Formula

The Kremlin views Ukraine’s acceptance of the Steinmeier Formula as a positive thing.

"They have confirmed their acceptance, which is a positive thing," he said. According to Peskov, Ukraine agreed to accept the Formula a few years ago, so this time, Kiev only confirmed its acceptance.

Following Tuesday’s meeting of the Contact Group on resolving the conflict in Donbass, Russian Envoy Boris Gryzlov said all parties had agreed that the Steinmeier Formula would become part of Ukraine’s legislation. According to Gryzlov, "a procedure to enforce the law on the special status of certain areas in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions has been approved." However, the Ukrainian opposition demanded that Zelensky and the Ukrainian government explain the move to accept the Steinmeier Formula.

In late 2015, then German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier put forward a plan that later became known as the "Steinmeier formula." The plan stipulates that special status be granted to Donbass in accordance with the Minsk Agreements. In particular, the document envisages that Ukraine’s special law on local self-governance will take effect in certain areas of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions on a temporary basis on the day of local elections, becoming permanent after the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) issues a report on the vote’s results.

The aides to the leaders of the Normandy Four countries (Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine) approved the Formula in September 2019. They also agreed that all members of the Contact Group should sign the document.