Wrapup: Donbass and Kiev exchange detainees on "124 for 76" basis (PHOTOS)
LUGANSK, December 29 (Lugansk Media Centre) – Donbass Republics and Kiev have carried out the POW exchange on the "124 for 76" basis today at the Gorlovka/Mayorskoye checkpoint.
The convoy with those captured by LPR authorities during the armed conflict in Donbass left Lugansk at around 8.30 a.m. and arrived in the DPR within a couple of hours.
The exchange between the LPR and Ukraine took place at the Ukrainian side of the contact line, while DPR-Kiev swap took place within DPR territory.
Numerous live streams showed detainees-to-be-liberated getting of buses, entering tents where verification took place, and boarding buses that would soon take them to freedom. Many security service members were present at the scene some of them scolding journalists for dropping plastic tea mugs on the ground instead of using litter bins.
Overall, the situation remained calm throughout the exchange; OSCE SMM and ICRC members were routinely declining comments.
Several dogs alarmed by the unusual event were sneaking among detainees, representatives of authorities, and journalists who hurried up to take some cute shots.
The verification of detainees took several hours due to some unexpected technical delays on the Ukrainian side. The situation caused confusion among the reporters who struggled to ascertain the number of people exchanged.
As a result, LPR handed over 25 people and received 63 back; nine detainees arrived at the checkpoint but refused the transfer and preferred to remain in Ukraine.
DPR returned 52 people to Ukraine in exchange for 60 detainees. Two women refused to return to Ukraine. They said they had spent 16 months in captivity as they had been accused of espionage. Still they preferred to remain within their country after the liberation, as they had no complaints against the prosecution.
The convoy with LPR supporters returned to Lugansk in the evening and dropped the liberated people off at the Republican Clinic Hospital for medical examination.
The Ministry of Communication said that all the liberated persons will be provided with internet connection and mobile service to contact their families.
The previous exchange took place two years ago, on December 27, 2017. Back then, LPR handed over 16 detainees and received 73 POWs. The total of more than 300 people were exchanged.
On December 9-10, Paris hosted a summit of the leaders of the “Normandy Four” states (Germany, Russia, France, Ukraine). The parties agreed on a prisoner exchange in Donbass under the “all for all” principle by yearend. They also called for ensuring a full and comprehensive ceasefire by the end of 2019 and supported the Contact Group accord on three more areas for the disengagement of forces and hardware in the conflict zone by the end of March 2020.
The exchange of captives between Donbass Republics and Ukraine is one of the key issues of Minsk Agreements.
The Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements was adopted by the Contact Group on Ukraine on February 12, 2015 and supported by member states of the Normandy Four (Germany, Russia, Ukraine and France). The UN Security Council approved the document by Resolution 2202 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.
LuganskMediaCentre — 29 December — Lugansk
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