MOSCOW, December 30. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin uses his influence to aid the prisoner swap between Kiev and Donbass, however, he does not take part in the negotiations, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday.
On December 29, a prisoner swap between Kiev and the self-proclaimed Donbass republics took place near the line of contact in the area of Gorlovka. This was the first large-scale prisoner swap in two years. According to preliminary data, Ukraine handed over 124 people to Donbass, while the Donbass republics released 76 prisoners.
"The Russian president does not take part in these negotiations, in these contacts. He uses his influence and authority to ensure that the exchange takes place. The exchange itself is carried out by the conflict sides. As you know, Russia is not a side in this conflict," the Kremlin spokesman said in response to a question by a Ukrainian reporter, who claimed that the prisoner swaps only take place "after a corresponding agreement with Vladimir Putin."
Peskov pointed out that there are no direct bilateral contacts between Kiev and the Donbass republics. "If there had been any, there would have been more progress. So we currently have a trilateral commission," he said. The spokesman added that the mediation of the Russian side is important "only due to the lack of direct contacts."
He refused to answer a question on whether the Donbass republics had approved the prisoner swap list with Moscow. "I have nothing to add, I cannot provide you with more detailed information," he said.