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29 Dec, 2019 08:54

New Year’s swap: Dozens head home as Ukraine & breakaway Donbass conduct ‘all for all’ prisoner exchange

New Year’s swap: Dozens head home as Ukraine & breakaway Donbass conduct ‘all for all’ prisoner exchange

Kiev is exchanging dozens of prisoners with the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk republics in the first such effort in two years. The swap was given a boost at the recent Normandy Four talks in Paris.

The self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic has handed over 51 people to Kiev, while receiving 61 of their followers. The Lugansk region returned 25 and took in 63 prisoners; nine people held by Kiev refused to partake in the exchange. 

The office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky confirmed that Kiev had received a total of 76 people from Donetsk and Lugansk.

Donetsk’s authorities said their list could be longer, as some people asked to be repatriated shortly before the exchange.

The swap, carried out under an “all for all” formula, was the first since a similar humanitarian effort in December 2017.

The prisoner exchange was overseen by officials from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). No ceasefire violations were recorded on the frontier.


It also comes weeks after leaders from France, Germany, Russia, and Ukraine agreed at a peace summit in Paris to push for a full ceasefire and a new troop disengagement by March 2020.

READ MORE: Normandy Four agree to ‘stabilize’ eastern Ukraine in Paris communique (VIDEO)

The summit was the first of its kind in three years, also marking the first time Russian President Vladimir Putin talked reconciliation with his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky.

Before the summit, Kiev and the rebel forces ordered a partial pullback in several areas of the frontline. However, several Ukrainian nationalist organizations stood up against Zelensky’s policies, even deploying their own armed groups to prevent the government from withdrawing their soldiers.

Also on rt.com ‘No to capitulation! Death to our enemies!’ Nationalists march in Kiev against roadmap to peace in Ukraine

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