MOSCOW, December 29. /TASS/. Sunday’s prisoner exchange between Ukraine and the self-proclaimed republics in Donbass is seen as another step towards the implementation of the Minsk agreements, Russia’s chief negotiator at the Donbass conflict settlement talks, Boris Gryzlov, said.
"Today’s event is a step towards further implementation of the entire package of humanitarian and political measures committed to paper in the Minsk agreements," he said. "We hope that now Kiev will be able to proceed to the implementation of its political commitments and agree, within the Contact Group, all the legal aspects of Donbass’ special status, including its enshrining in the constitution."
Gryzlov also stressed that Kiev had undertaken not to prosecute the people it had released.
The Russian chief negotiator hailed the fact that the sides had demonstrated political will to carry out the exchange by the yearend as had been agreed at the Contact Group videoconference on December 23. "I would like to stress that under that agreement the parties to the Ukrainian internal conflict have undertaken to complete the pardoning procedures and not to prosecute people they release. Kiev guaranteed "procedural clearance" for those of them who have not yet been sentenced by court," he noted.
"And I would like to thank all who has made his or her contribution to helping people return to their homes," he added.
Kiev and the Donbass republics exchanged prisoners earlier on Sunday. The swap was carried put near the Mayorskoye checkpoint. According to preliminary data, Ukraine released 124 people and the Donbass republics handed over to Kiev 76 people.