Released during the prisoners' exchange between Ukraine and occupied Luhansk region, Oleksandr Danylchenko does not know yet where he is going to live in the territory controlled by Ukraine. He cannot keep the joy of the held swap as PavlovskyNews reported.
Danylchenko said that he was detained by the militants due to the pro-Ukrainian position in his native temporarily occupied Luhansk.
“On February 17, 2017, I was taken prisoner. I conspired with my friend against the lawlessness of Luhansk occupied authorities. We united, contacted our friends in Ukraine, started to act not against the soldiers but against the senior, so to speak to the root of everything, people who murdered and looted in 2014 our native Luhansk. As it happens, we got caught,” Danylchenko said.
The released Ukrainian said that the militants beat and tortured him.
“How they treat (the militants in the captivity, - 112.international) – they beat, tortured but not long. Later, when they understood that they got to know all the information we had; we had not a lot of it, then we were sent to jail in 15 months, to MGB (State Security Ministry, - 112.international) basements. And now we are in Ukraine, at home,” Oleksandr noted.
“We are happy, really happy. I am really glad, happy. I have just called mother, I made her happy. She is in tears; controls the pressure. Everything is fine, thank you,” he added.
According to Danylchenko, he is from Luhansk; he is 35-year-old. He does not know yet where he is going to live in the territory controlled by Ukraine.
25 Ukrainians were released during the prisoner swap. The list of the names of released people could be found here.
It is expected that 80 people will return to Ukraine within the exchange.
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. A few dozens of people prepared for the return to occupied Donbas asked to exclude them from the exchange list due to the different reasons. 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.