Kiev holding talks with East on 'all-for-all' prisoner swap on Saturday

February 21, 2015 12:26 am 

KIEV, Feb. 20 — Kiev is in talks with the eastern Ukrainian self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics on an “all-for-all” prisoner exchange on Saturday, a representative from the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said Friday.

“We are preparing for these [prisoner] releases and are currently agreeing the lists, which have taken us 12 days to prepare the list of people we are ready to hand over to the other side on an ‘all-for-all’ basis,” the head of the Defense Ministry’s center in charge of prisoner exchanges, Yuriy Tandit, told 112 Ukraina television station.

Tandit said that both sides are finalizing their lists and are attempting to finish the active phase by Saturday.

“The active phase of negotiations for tomorrow is underway. I think only God, who will be handling tomorrow’s exchange, knows if there will be an exchange or not,” Tandit said.

An all-for-all prisoner swap is among the steps, aimed at putting an end to the conflict in southeastern Ukraine, that were agreed upon by the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France at the February 12 talks in Minsk.

The Kiev forces and independence supporters of Donbas held their most recent exchange of prisoners in late December, 2014 freeing a total of over 350 people.

On Thursday, the deputy military commander of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) Eduard Basurin invited monitors of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to oversee the prisoner swap with Kiev.

Earlier on Friday a DPR representative told RIA Novosti that the next prisoner exchange is planned under the 37 for 37 formula but is being delayed by Kiev’s actions. (PNA/Sputnik)

LAP/RSM

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