Ukraine, pro-Russian rebels swap prisoners

by Antonio Miles December 30, 2017, 0:57
Ukraine, pro-Russian rebels swap prisoners

This is said in the statement of the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office.

The prisoners, some of whom had been held for more than a year, were exchanged in the town of Horlivka and the village of Zaitseve with their belongings.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko confirmed on social media "All 74 Ukrainian hostages are already at home, on the territory controlled by our army".

"I'm out of hell, I have survived", said Yevhen Chudentsov, who served with one of Ukraine's volunteer battalions in the east and was taken prisoner in February 2015.

Chudentsov said he faced threats and beatings in custody, and his front teeth were knocked out. Chudentsov was initially sentenced to capital punishment, which was later changed to 30 years in prison. They said both sides should release the remaining captives. Russia, France, Germany and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) were guarantors of the deal. The Kremlin has also continued to aid pro-Russia fighters in the eastern part of Ukraine, where ties to Russia are stronger.Nauert's statement also said Tillerson and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov agreed to continue to seek a diplomatic solution to the threat posed by North Korea's nuclear weapons program and to support negotiations toward a peaceful end to the ongoing civil war in Syria, where the USA and Russia have supported opposing sides. "Today's exchange is not only a humanitarian act but also a helpful step in confidence-building".

Numerous captives were not combatants.

Journalists, activists and bloggers who had been accused of spying or treason were among those released.

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"I was in captivity for two years", said historian Igor Kozlovskiy, 63, who was captured by Donetsk rebels on suspicion of storing weapons.

In his comment immediately after the exchange was completed, Poroshenko hailed the persistence of the Ukrainian soldiers. The 2015 Minsk peace agreements outlined a prisoner swap programme, but mutual distrust and constant ceasefire breakdowns have stymied the exchanges.

"We are stronger, we shall win!"

More than 10,000 people have died in the conflict so far.

The largest prior prisoner exchange was in 2014, when the conflict between authorities Kiev and anti-government separatists began.

"The UK welcomes the exchange of over 300 prisoners between Ukraine and the Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine".

What do you think of the exchange of prisoners?


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