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Contact Group in Minsk agree on prisoner exchange on 150 for 225 basis

Contact Group talks on Ukraine continue via Skype

DONETSK, December 25. /TASS/. Participants in a meeting of the Contact Group on Ukraine succeeded in reaching agreement on the exchange of prisoners on the “all for all” basis, leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) Alexander Zakharchenko said on Thursday.

“The Minsk talks continue, but it is early to talk about any agreements. The only thing I can say that we succeeded in reaching agreement on the exchange of prisoners on the ‘all for all’ basis 150 for 225,” Zakharchenko said.

Contact Group talks on Ukraine continue via Skype

Talks of the Contact Group on the Ukrainian conflict settlement, held on Wednesday in the Belarusian capital of Minsk, have not been wrapped up and they continue on-line via Skype, Zakharchenko said.

Zakharchenko said “the talks are not over and they are still underway,” adding that they are currently held in the “format of Skype conferences.”

“I believe they will continue for about two days and the date [for the next meeting] will be agreed upon,” he added.

Igor Plotnitsky, the head of the Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR), which is the other breakaway republic in Ukraine's southeast, confirmed Zakharchenko’s words saying the talks are underway.

“The talks of the Contact Group continue,” he was quoted by the local news agency Luhansk Information Center as saying.

Ukraine Contact Group meeting

On Wednesday evening, Contact Group held a meeting in Minsk on resolving the conflict in Ukraine, which has killed 4,700 and displaced 1 million people. After the talks, the participants gave no comments to journalists.

The talks were attended by ex-Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma, representatives of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk republics, Denis Pushilin and Vladislav Deinego, and also Russia’s ambassador to Kiev Mikhail Zurabov and OSCE envoy Heidi Tagliavini.

Deinego later told TASS that the date for the next meeting remained unclear. Earlier reports said another round of talks could be held in Minsk on December 26. Pushilin told the Donetsk news agency it would be incorrect to reveal the results of the meeting until the next meeting.

In early September, representatives of Ukraine, Russia, the Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics signed the Minsk Protocol, an agreement at halt the war in eastern Ukraine. Two weeks later, talks continued in Minsk and the sides adopted a memorandum which clarified the implementation of the protocol. In particular, the document stipulates pulling heavy weaponry 15 kilometers back on each side of the contact line and banning offensive operations. However, the sides have failed to implement the majority of the nine-point document.