Prisoner swap in Donbas can take place before Dec. 25 – Russian media
The exchange of prisoners between Ukraine and Russian-backed militants in Donbas should take place before December 25, the Russian newspaper Izvestia reports citing sources in the Minsk contact group and Russian diplomatic circles.
According to Izvestia, finalized swap lists will be approved on December 20, when the last meeting will be held of the Minsk Contact group this year. It is about exchanging 74 captured Ukrainians for 306 detained persons from the list drawn by militants.
Read alsoMinsk talks on Donbas: Date for POW swap to be appointed soonAt the same time, the fate of about 30 prisoners remains unclear. Ukrainian authorities say the detainees refuse to be returned to the occupied areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. The Ukrainian side suggests that independent experts be invited to talk to these detainees to confirm their intentions, which is “the right and reasonable move," a source told the Russian newspaper.
Read alsoKremlin reports about Putin's phone call with "DPR/LPR" leaders on POW swapAccording to the publication’s interlocutors, Kyiv is serious about resolving the issue of prisoner exchange before the said date.
As UNIAN reported earlier, the Tripartite Contact Group for Donbas settlement, which includes representatives of Ukraine, Russia, the OSCE and Russian-controlled militants, soon plans to agree on the terms, procedure, and date of exchange of hostages.