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Donetsk calls on Ukraine to exchange prisoners until December 25

The all-for-all prisoner exchanges is one of the key provisions of the Minsk peace deal

DONETSK, December 13. /TASS/. The self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) has urged Ukraine to carry out prisoner swaps until December 25, DPR human rights commissioner Darya Morozova said on Wednesday.

"We are not against a prisoner swap to take place until December 25. Moreover, we call on the Ukrainian side to conduct the procedure before the above-mentioned date," she was cited by the Donetsk news agency.

Morozova said that the numbers and lists of persons had been approved "at the highest level."

The all-for-all prisoner exchanges is one of the key provisions of the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk agreements that was signed in the Belarusian capital Minsk on 12 February 2015, after marathon talks between the leaders of Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine.

Apart from that, the 13-point Package of Measures envisages pardon and amnesty by enacting a law prohibiting citizen’s prosecution and criminal penalties over developments in the Donbass region. However, there have been no exchanges in the past 14 months.

In mid-November, Russian President Vladimir Putin held a meeting with Viktor Medvedchuk, the leader of the Ukrainian Choice public movement and Kiev’s representative to the humanitarian subgroup of the Contact Group, who asked the Russian leader to support his initiative concerning the prisoner swap. According to Medvedchuk, Ukraine is ready to release 306 people and expects Donetsk and Lugansk to release 74 people before the holiday season.

Later, Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov said Putin had spoken over the phone with the leaders of the Donetsk and Lugansk republics who supported the idea in general. After that, Kiev said it was ready to carry out prisoner swap before the New Year holidays but would need some time to organize the procedure.