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Ukraine: successful prisoner exchanges amid ceasefire violations

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Ukraine: successful prisoner exchanges amid ceasefire violations


Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian separatists have been carrying out prisoner swaps in eastern Ukraine, under the terms of the recently-agreed ceasefire.

Kyiv and Moscow confirmed that a number of prisoners were due to be exchanged on Sunday (21 September), but did not provide details of where or when.

On Saturday (20 September) 76 people – 38 prisoners held by each side – were handed over.

Most of the prisoners were taken in buses to a roadside north of Donetsk and transferred, observed by monitors from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Negotiators from both the Ukrainian government and the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic said Saturday’s swap had gone well.

“We need to start exchanging good words with one another, it’s important,” said Yuriy Tandit, a Ukrainian government negotiator who oversaw the roadside swap.

Tandit added that he was “happy” with the ceasefire.

Negotiators representing the Ukrainian government, the separatists – and also the Russian government – agreed a nine-point plan to establish a stable truce, at a meeting in the Belarusian capital Minsk on Saturday.

The measures include establishing a buffer zone and withdrawing heavy weaponry and foreign fighters.

But fresh clashes broke out in Donetsk within hours of the agreement being reached.

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