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For more than a year Ukraine has been expecting for this exchange. Negotiations have been often disrupted, militants agreed to conduct the exchange and then refused.
And on the eve of the New Year, the agreement on the exchange of hostages between Ukraine and representatives of the LPR and the DPR has finally succeeded.
The exchange took place today, December 27th. We have collected all the details of what was happening.
The exchange started today at noon at "Mayorske" checkpoint.
Not all the hostages from the previously prepared list were exchanged. At least, on the part of separatists and a number of defenders of separatists among Ukrainian citizens, there have already been several statements about the absence of a number of surnames in the list.
A lawyer Valentyn Rybin said that as of 14:20 Mefedov, Egorov, Polyakov, Shylin, Chernykh, Kovalis, Kimakovsky, Slyvko were not transported to "Mayorske" checkpoint.
In the afternoon, a lawyer Tetiana Montyan reported that Ukraine "at the last moment refused to exchange a citizen of Estonia, Volodymyr Polyakov."
According to the representative of the LPR in the exchange group of Olga Kobtseva, Ukraine (within the first stage of the large exchange) has transferred to the LPR 73 people out of 99 who were on the list. The second stage dealt with the DPR exchanges.
In response, the militants transferred 16 people to Ukraine. Kobtseva said that at the time of the exchange a number of people out of 99 listed were released, and some refused to return to the LPR. The separatists' resource specified that, according to Kobtseva, two people refused to return to the occupied territory.
According to "Hromadske", referring to the Human Rights Commissioner Valeria Lutkovska, 43 persons from the list have already served their sentence and were released before the release.
In addition, she confirmed that there were some people who refused to move to the occupied territory.
Among the released were ultras of Luhansk "Zorya" Vladyslav Ovcharenko and Artem Akhmerov, a contract soldier Valentyn Bogdan, a fighter of 24 brigade Artem Vindyuk, and a blogger Eduard Nedelyaev.
The exchange with the DPR took place at the checkpoint near occupied Horlivka. As reported by "Hromadske", the militants transfered Ukraine 58 people, Ukraine is transferring 165 (instead of 207 announced).
Among liberated Ukrainians was scientist Igor Kozlovsky and Ukrainian blogger Valentyn Fomichov.
The militants also freed "cyborg" Olexander Morozov, a soldier Oleksiy Kyrychenko, captured by the DPR in August 2014 and another soldier, lieutenant Andriy Bessarab, who served in the engineering forces. In June 2016, Bessarab accidentally got on someone else's roadblock and was captured by the DPR militants. In addition, the sniper of the 128 brigade Olexander Oliynyk, who has been encaptivated since February 2015, was also released.
The exchange process is now completed. This was reported by the representative of the president in the Verkhovna Rada, Iryna Lutsenko.
As planned 74 Ukrainians were released.
In addition to the above-mentioned persons, members of the Kryvbas battalion Mykola Herasymenko and Olexander Lazarenko, who were captured in 2015, were among the released.
The "cyborg" Ivan Lyas was also released. In addition, Euvgen Chudnetsov, Oleksiy Kodman, Olexander Kalin, Abramov, Arbuzov, Belov, Buchok, Gaiva, Gashpor, Golikov, Darkin, Kaznacheyev, Kononenko Eugene and Kononenko Igor, Kostnikov, Kanarsky, Kots, Kuskov, Levashov, Lyubchuk, Nedelyaev, Nedoseykin, Novitsky, Ovcharenko, Olena Politova, Popov, Radulov, Sapozhnikov, Symonenko, Sychev, Sinchenko, Sobolev, Starchenko, Terenko, Khramych, Chmeruk, Chulga, Shvayko, Yakovenko, Vasyl Gulka, Iovov, Kushpil, Petrachkova, Radovets, Gladky were also luckily to return back to Ukraine.