Kiev remains ready to arrange a new prisoner exchange at short notice in Donbass on the "69 for 208" principle, Darya Olifer, spokeswoman for Ukraine’s Representative to the Contact Group Leonid Kuchma, said on Wednesday after a regular round of talks in Minsk.
"The humanitarian subgroup has confirmed the whereabouts of our 69 citizens, who we want to see freed," she wrote on Facebook. "The Ukrainian penitentiary system holds 208 people who the opposing side asks for."
"We agreed to carry out work at short notice in two parallel fields: judicial clearance and preparations for reciprocal releases of identified persons," she is quoted as saying by TASS.
Earlier, Donbass republics’ representatives reported that draft lists and a procedure of prisoner swaps had been negotiated by the Contact Group seeking peace for east Ukraine.
Ombudswoman of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) Darya Morozova said that the republic had put forward a proposal to exchange detainees on the ‘all identified for all identified persons’ principle. According to Morozova, it was confirmed that 101 DPR people are detained in Ukraine, while the republic has 50 people whose release Kiev insists on.
In the meantime, Olga Kobtseva, the head of the working group on prisoner exchange of the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR), said that the LPR was ready to hand over 19 detainees to Ukraine and expected to get 107 LPR supporters back.
An agreement was reached that the sides are given time for detainees’ "judicial clearance." After that, the information that criminal proceedings against the individuals subject to the swap have been dropped is to be submitted to the working group. When the sides confirm their compliance with the agreement, the Contact Group will set the date for the exchange.
The last large-scale exchange of detainees between Ukraine and the Donbass republics took place in December 2017. Back then, Kiev exchanged 233 prisoners for 73 detained Ukrainian citizens.
The parties underlined that the release of prisoners was not over and they would make every effort to continue this process. However, since then, the parties have been failing to reach new agreements on mutual release and exchange of prisoners.