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Ukraine and pro-Russian rebels exchange prisoners of war

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Ukraine and pro-Russian rebels exchange prisoners of war


Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian rebels have exchanged dozens of prisoners of war (PoW).

The swap took place on a highway close to the separatist stronghold of Donetsk.

Two buses, one carrying Ukraine’s PoWs and another separatists’, arrived at a spot several kilometres north of Donetsk where OSCE (Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe) observers were waiting for them.

“We are glad to return to our homes, families finally, after the deal was reached. Though we are still far away it feels like we are home,” said a released Ukrainian prisoner, who refused to give his name.

One pro-Russian detainee from Kramatorsk complained of being mistreated by Ukrainian authorities.

“How did they treat me? I was lying for a month and a half until my bruises disappeared. What for? I can’t understand. They called me a separatist but I call myself a Donbass citizen. That’s it.”

The exchange of all captives is one of the key elements of the ceasefire. The next exchange is expected to take place on Saturday.

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