OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and Austria’s Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl and OSCE Secretary General Thomas Greminger welcomed the news of today’s large-scale exchange of prisoners and detainees in eastern Ukraine and urged the sides to build on this momentum in order to achieve further progress in reaching a peaceful resolution of the crisis in and around Ukraine. This was stated on the OSCE website.
“Allowing such a significant number of people, who have been held on both sides, to return home before the New Year and Orthodox Christmas is a very welcome development. Today’s exchange is not only a humanitarian act but also a helpful step in confidence-building. We encourage the sides to continue their efforts to improve the life of people directly affected by the conflict”, said Chairperson-in-Office Kneissl.
Secretary General Greminger stressed that incremental steps such as this one can bring significant, tangible results.
“Progress such as this is the result of tireless work facilitated by the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG), and demonstrates the importance of this format. It is essential that the sides continue to work with the TCG in order to achieve sustainable progress towards peace.”
As it was reported earlier 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 "DPR" has finally succeeded.
The exchange of prisoners took place on December 27. The exchange started on Wednesday noon at Mayorske checkpoint.