The exchange of prisoners between Ukraine and the militant-held Donbas will take place today, on December 29. The venue will be Mayorsk entry-exit checkpoint in the Donetsk region as Telegram channel Рavlovskynews reported.
"The proportions are the following: Donetsk/Kyiv - 55/65, Luhansk/Kyiv 25/65. The overall number makes 130 people from Kyiv and 80 from the occupied areas", reads the message.
As is known, some of those imprisoned refuse to go back. The exchange lists include some corrupt residents of Kyiv, who were judged for corruption in Ukraine.
At Normandy Four meeting in Paris, Ukraine and the Russian Federation, Volodymyr Zelensky 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.
Apparently, the parties to the Minsk group could not agree on the release of prisoners in government-controlled Ukraine and the occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. The Ukrainian side insisted on "all for all" exchange but the group could not reach any consensus on the lists of the detainees.
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 Vadym Prystaiko claims that 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.