Ukrainian presidential office has confirmed preparations for an exchange of held persons with Donbass, to be carried out within days.
"Another phase of mutual release of held persons is being prepared for. The final negotiations on the list and logistics are being held. The exchange is due soon," the office said, adding that the date was still being discussed, TASS reports.
The presidential office dismissed media rumors that the exchange was already in progress. "This has nothing to do with the reality. Regrettably, mutual release is a complex procedure and requires extra coordination," the presidential office’s press service informed, adding that the exchange was to take place amid the quarantine, so mandatory preliminary isolation of the persons to be released to Ukraine had to be arranged for.
On Tuesday, the OSCE reported that the humanitarian subgroup of the Contact Group for a settlement in Donbass had agreed the details of a prisoner swap, expected to take place before Orthodox Easter.
Kiev and the Donbass republics achieved agreement on the exchange of held persons at a meeting of the Contact Group on April 8. Russia’s representative Boris Gryzlov said Kiev, Donetsk and Lugansk had agreed in principle on lists of persons to be exchanged. The representatives of the Donetsk and Lugansk republics in the humanitarian subgroup Darya Morozova and Olga Kobtsova specified that the swap was set to be through before Easter, April 19. The Donetsk Republic is ready to release eight persons and expects the return of ten. The Lugansk Republic hopes for an 11-for-8 exchange.
December last year saw the first-ever major exchange of held persons between the Donbass republics and Ukraine. Donetsk and Lugansk freed 76 persons and Kiev, 124.