MINSK, June 5. /TASS/. The Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) expects Ukraine to provide an official statement regarding the "all for all" prisoner exchange, the DPR’s foreign ministry informed on Wednesday.
"Today, the atmosphere during the talks of the working group on humanitarian issues has been more reasonable. This has given us the opportunity to start the discussion of practically all items on the agenda. We expect the official response of the Ukrainian side regarding the prisoner exchange in the "all identified for all identified" format, as well as the activation of efforts on honing the missing persons search mechanism," the statement published by the ministry on Telegram informs.
Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) envoy Natalia Nikonorova said in an interview with the Rossiya-1 channel earlier in the day Ukraine had promised to answer the questions standing in the way of prisoner exchange between Donbass and Kiev.
"We have managed to begin the dialogue on all items on the agenda. We expect that what has been promised already <…> to provide an answer to the questions that should unblock the prisoner exchange in accordance with the formula "all identified for all identified" will be done. And right then, when the process is unblocked, such an exchange will be possible" she said.
On June 5, the first meeting of the Contact Group for the settlement in eastern Ukraine took place since the election of new Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky. Earlier, a LPR (Lugansk People’s Republic) envoy spoke about the possibility of a prisoner exchange; however, he added that "it is too early to talk about dates [of the exchange] or the number of persons.".
The last large-scale exchange of detainees between Ukraine and the Donbass republics took place on December 27, 2017. Then, Kiev exchanged 233 prisoners for 73 detained Ukrainian citizens. The parties’ representative then underlined that the release of prisoners was not over and they would make every effort to continue this process in 2018. However, since then, the parties have been failing to reach new agreements on mutual release and exchange of prisoners.