LUGANSK, December 25 (Lugansk Media Centre) - The Donbass Republics and Kiev will carry out the “306 for 74” prisoner exchange on 27 December, DPR head Alexander Zakharchenko said on Monday.
Earlier in the day, Zakharchenko, together with acting LPR head Leonid Pasechnik took part in a peacemaking meeting in Moscow attended by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Russia. “A benchmark event has happened today; the final terms have been discussed; the 306 for 74 exchange will take place on 27 December,” TASS quoted Zakharchenko as saying.
“Today, all the details of the prisoner exchange between DPR and LPR and Ukraine were finalised at St Daniel Monastery,” the patriarch said after talks.
He underlined that the captives were not on the exchange lists and extended the hope that the parties would continue the dialogue. “Hopefully the upcoming prisoner exchange will launch the process, because the lists do not include those who will remain in captivity for some more time. I express my ardent hope that the first stage would be followed by further efforts towards freeing everybody held in captivity,” he said.
“The Russian Church grieves what is happening in Ukraine when brother raises a hand against brother,” he said underlining the need for the soonest peaceful solution of the problem.” The Russian patriarch noted the special role of Metropolitan Onufriy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in reaching a consensus and expressed gratitude to everybody who had taken part in finalising prisoner exchange terms.
In a telephone conversation with LPR and DPR leaders Igor Plotnitskiy and Alexander Zakharchenko on 15 November, Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed Ukrainian special representative for humanitarian issues Viktor Medvedchuk’s initiative to carry out the 306 for 74 prisoner swap in the near future. The LPR leader told the Russian president that the Lugansk People’s Republic was ready to discuss prisoner exchange issues and that it was awaiting Kiev’s reply to these initiatives.
Prisoner exchange is a key point of the Minsk Agreements.
The Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements was adopted by the Contact Group on Ukraine on 12 February 2015 and supported by member states of the Normandy Four (Germany, Russia, Ukraine and France). The UN Security Council approved the document by its 2202 Resolution and called upon all the sides to ensure full implementation of the Package of Measures.
The document provides for comprehensive ceasefire, withdrawal of all heavy weapons from the contact line, starting a dialog on reconstruction of social and economic ties between Kiev and Donbass. It also envisages carrying out constitutional reform in Ukraine providing for decentralization and adopting permanent legislation on a special status of certain areas of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.
To facilitate the work of the Contact Group, four working groups were set up under its aegis to deal with issues of security, politics, return of internally displaced people and refuges, as well as with social, humanitarian, economic and rehabilitation issues.
LuganskMediaCentre — 25 December — Lugansk