- Title: Ukraine and separatist Luhansk People's Republic swap prisoners
- Date: 29th December 2019
- Summary: NEAR MAYORSK, DONETSK REGION, UKRAINE (DECEMBER 29, 2019) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF BUSES CARRYING PRISONERS WHO WERE HELD BY SELF-PROCLAIMED LUHANSK PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC (LNR) ARRIVING UNITED NATIONS VEHICLES FOLLOWING BUSES VARIOUS OF PRISONERS RELEASED BY LNR GETTING OFF BUS AND ENTERING TENT FOR FURTHER IDENTITY CHECK UKRAINIAN SERVICEMEN ON GUARD (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) PRISONER WHO WAS HELD BY SELF-PROCLAIMED LUHANSK PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC, VIKTORIYA VORONINA, SAYING: "I was sentenced to 12 years in prison for state treason in the so-called Luhansk People's Republic. I came to visit my parents and, unfortunately, was not able to leave the city. At that time, my child was two years old and has been waiting for three years for mother to come back home." (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) UKRAINIAN SERVICEMAN WHO WAS CAPTURED BY SELF-PROCLAIMED LUHANSK PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC, YURIY YEVTUSHOK, SAYING: "I was captured together with my commander on May 25, 2018." REPORTER ASKING OFF CAMERA: "How did it happen?" YEVTUSHOK SAYING: "We reached the contact line and LNR fighters came from behind us. That's how we were captured." REPORTER ASKING: "For how long were you in captivity?" YEVTUSHOK SAYING: "For a year and seven months." REPORTER ASKING: "Where were you kept?" YEVTUSHOK SAYING: "I was in the basement for three months and then in prison." VARIOUS OF PRISONERS RELEASED BY UKRAINIAN AUTHORITIES WALKING INTO TENT FOR IDENTITY CHECK VARIOUS OF PRISONERS RELEASED BY UKRAINIAN AUTHORITIES WAITING TO BOARD BUS PRISONERS RELEASED BY UKRAINIAN AUTHORITIES WALKING TOWARDS BUS UKRAINIAN SERVICEMAN ON GUARD VARIOUS OF PRISONERS RELEASED BY UKRAINIAN AUTHORITIES PLACING THEIR BELONGINGS INTO BUS LUGGAGE COMPARTMENT VARIOUS OF PRISONERS RELEASED BY UKRAINIAN AUTHORITIES ON BUS VARIOUS OF BUSES CARRYING PRISONERS RELEASED BY UKRAINIAN AUTHORITIES DEPARTING
- Embargoed: 12th January 2020 15:01
- Keywords: Donetsk Luhansk Ukraine conflict east exchange people's republics prisoner swap pro-Russian separatists rebels
- Location: DONETSK REGION, UKRAINE
- City: DONETSK REGION, UKRAINE
- Country: Ukraine
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace
- Reuters ID: LVA001BC1303R
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine completed a full prisoner swap on Sunday (December 29) after bussing remaining detainees in the five-year conflict to an exchange point in the breakaway Donbass region.
The office of Ukraine's president said that 76 former pro-government detainees had returned home.
The swap, at a checkpoint near the industrial town of Horlivka in the Donetsk region, had initially been expected see Ukraine hand over 87 separatists in exchange for 55 pro-government Ukrainians.
As the exchange began early in the morning, Ukrainian men and women dressed in civilian clothing got off a bus after being brought to the rendez-vous point by separatist forces, and were then herded into a nearby tent.
Though the swap will help build confidence between the two sides who are wrangling over how to implement a 2014 peace deal, serious disagreements remain and full normalisation is a long way off.
Russian leader Vladimir Putin and Zelenskiy prepared the ground for the exchange at a summit in Paris earlier this month.
Kiev's forces have been battling separatists in the Donbass region since 2014 in a conflict that has claimed more than 13,000 lives. Sporadic fighting continues despite a ceasefire agreement.
Relations between Ukraine and Russia collapsed following Moscow's annexation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014, and its subsequent support for separatists in eastern Ukraine. Moscow denies accusations.
(Production: Vitaliy Hnidyy, Margaryta Chornokondratenko)
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