Russia refused from the exchange of captives by the end of this year. Yevhen Marchuk, Ukraine's official representative in Minsk trilateral contact group said that at a briefing on Thursday.
'At 12 o'clock, on December 27, Ukraine is ready to exchange 23 on 23 [hostages], in an organized manner. That is, 23 Ukrainian captives, citizens of Ukraine serving time in the Russian prisons... on 22 Russians (as one recently deceased) who currently serve time for the tough crimes in the Ukrainian prisons. The Russian side did not and still does not agree, saying it has nothing to do with Donbas', Marchuk said.
He added that the Russian side also rejected the '66 on 19' offer. 'There are 66 inmates who serve time here, and those 19 who stay in prisons on the occupied territories. Russia evades discussions on this matter, saying that they were not there. They want us to negotiate with them directly. When the representatives [of self-styled 'republics' join the conversation, they offer to exchange 'all for all'. But this procedure is not ready at the moment. There's a lot of obnoxious baits there', he said.
Earlier, the Minsk trilateral contact group session took place on December 19. Ukraine and OSCE offered the ceasefire mode in Donbas, timed to the winter holidays' period.
Last time the sides exchanged hostages on December 27, 2017. According to the SBU data, 73 people returned to Ukraine-controlled territory, while 233 returned to the occupied areas of Donbas.