Kiev and the self-declared Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics have been fighting a civil war in eastern Ukraine since 2014. In what has been in the works since the Minsk Agreement which saw fragile ceasefire deals between the warring parties, which has put the agreement for prisoner swap in jeopardy for over one and a half years, the transaction has already occurred today of 306 people kept by Kiev to 74 held by the pro-Russian separatist fighters in eastern Ukraine.
Both parties agreed during the Minsk Agreements of an ”all for all” terms of prisoner exchange as part of the settlement of the conflict and the last time there was a swap was some 15 months ago. They’ve both aimed blame at each for trying to disrupt the process. Legal troubles on the side of the Kiev stalled the deal as some of the captives were charged with ”serious crimes” which prevented them from being set free.
The conflict has left more than 10000 people dead, with over 2500 civilian casualties. Displaced more than 1.5 million people from the homes thus far. The place and names of prisoners to be exchanged has been withheld for security reasons.
Martin Sadjdik, an official working for The Organization for the Security and Cooperation In Europe (OSCE) welcomes the agreement reached by both sides and recommends it ”is an important step that the prisoners and their families have been waiting for” as the Orthodox festive season and the year’s end draws near.
BaretaNews Foreign Correspondent/Analyst