10 Dec 2019 12:08

Major swap of captives with Kyiv possible before year-end - DPR ombudsman

DONETSK. Dec 10 (Interfax) - Kyiv and Donetsk may exchange 88 for 53 captives before the end of this year, the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) human rights commissioner Darya Morozova told the press.

"We insist on never setting an exact number. We want to exchange as many people as possible, so we favor the 'all known for all known' formula instead of 'all for all'. [...] For now, the number is 88, which is confirmed by Ukraine, while we have confirmed 53 persons," Morozova said.

The exchange date will be set once Ukraine says it is ready, she said.

"We can carry out the exchange before the end of this year, but we have set certain terms during the year, such as procedural clearance and return of the captives' documents. I think they [Ukraine] have prepared for the process, which means we have a chance to carry out the exchange before the end of this year. The DPR has been ready for a long time. We are awaiting Ukraine's reaction," Morozova said.

The issue will be discussed at the next meeting of the humanitarian subgroup in Minsk on December 18, she said.

Morozova said that the DPR has prepared for the exchange in procedural terms.

"Mr. Zelensky mentioned December 24 as a date yesterday, but I can only speak for my state. I am aware of the procedural status of the persons held in our territory. So, I can say that they have long been procedurally prepared, and the process will not constitute any problem to us. However, Ukraine will have to meet the requirements, including those set by national law, to let these people go. I think that if Mr. Zelensky has named dates then they have at the least been coordinated with the SBU," she said.