MINSK, August 21. /TASS/. Russia is ready to facilitate the "all identified for all identified" prisoner exchange between Kiev and the Donbass republics, Russia’s envoy to the Contact Group for the settlement in eastern Ukraine Boris Gryzlov stated on Wednesday.
"In the humanitarian area, the Russian delegation will facilitate and mediate the talks between Kiev and Donbass on the upcoming "all identified for all identified" prisoner swap in order to ensure it takes place as soon as possible," Gryzlov told reporters on the outcomes of the Contact Group’s session held in Minsk on Wednesday.
The last large-scale exchange of detainees between Ukraine and the Donbass republics took place in December 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 were failing to reach new agreements on mutual release and exchange of prisoners.
The deadlock was broken at a meeting of the Contact Group for the settlement in Ukraine on July 17, when the parties in the conflict coordinated the prisoner swap procedure, agreeing to exchange 208 of DPR and LPR representatives for 69 Ukrainian military. Fifty of them are held by the DPR, and another 19 - by the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR). It is expected that the procedural measures aimed to exchange the prisoners would take up to six weeks.
On August 9, the DPR announced that they are "fully ready" for the swap. "As of now, we have confirmed the fact of 102 of our citizens held by the Ukrainian side. Kiev confirmed that they are on the swap list," the self-proclaimed republic’s human rights commissioner Daria Morozova informed. For its part, the DPR is ready to return 50 detained persons to Kiev.