Former Berkut law enforcers, who were earlier released from custody, stay in Donbas for the exchange with occupied Donbas as Hromadske reported citing lawyer Ihor Varfolomeev.
“They are sitting in the bus on the exchange (with occupied Donbas)”, Varfolomeev said.
On December 28, Kyiv court changed the restrictive measure from the detention to the personal commitments for five former law enforcers – Oleh Yanyshevsky, Pavlo Abroskin, Serhiy Zinchenko, Oleksandr Marinchenko, and Serhiy Tamtura. All of them were suspected in the commitment of the crimes in Maidan. Moreover, former Berkut fighters are on the exchange list between Ukraine and occupied Donbas.
Later the protest started near Lukyanivske detention center. People stood against the release of former Berkut law enforcers.
The venue is Mayorske entry-exit checkpoint in the Donetsk region. As of 11 a.m., the exchange procedure began, and the first Ukrainians crossed the checkpoint.
As reported before, Ukraine has agreed on the exact date of the prisoners’ exchange with the militants on the formula ‘all identified to all identified. December 29, representatives of the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics will transfer 55 people to Kyiv and expect to receive 87 detainees as part of the "all-for-all" exchange formula.’
At Normandy Four meeting in Paris, Ukraine and the Russian Federation, VolodymyrZelensky and Vladimir Putin have so far agreed to hold another round of prisoners’ exchange. The deadline would be until December 31, 2019. President promised that by the end of 2019, 72 political prisoners could return to Ukraine.
Zelensky stated that the lists for the prisoners’ exchange with Russia in the format ‘all for all’ will be discussed on December 18 at Minsk Talks. Later, the video conference was delayed until December 23.
Prisoners’ exchange was hampered by the refusal of some detainees to return to Donbas, as media reported.So-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics accused Kyiv of delaying prisoner exchange negotiations.
The Council of Europe welcomed the agreement between the participants of the Trilateral Contact Group in Minsk on the exchange of prisoners between Kyiv and the occupied territories of Donbas in the "all-for-all" format.
On December 23, Ukraine's Foreign Minister VadymPrystaiko claims that the Minsk talks group has agreed on one group of prisoners to be exchanged between Kyiv and the self-proclaimed republics of Donbas. According to him, the Ukrainian side wants to bring back as many people as possible before the New Year's eve. This is why the OSCE coordinator made the decision to hold a video conference and complete the work on the lists.
This is the second prisoner swap between Ukraine and occupied Donbas. 74 Ukrainians were exchanged for 238 militants in December 2017.
Another prisoner exchange took place recently between Ukraine and Russia. In this swap, Oleg Sentsov, as well as many other prisoners, was able to return home.