Ukrainian President: Date for next prisoner swap with LPR and DPR to be announced soon
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said during a press conference with his Turkish colleague Recep Tayyip Erdogan that the date of the next prisoner exchange between Ukraine and the so-called Luhansk and Donetsk people’s republics (LPR and DPR) will soon be announced.
“The first direction is the exchange of our prisoners who are imprisoned in the temporarily occupied [Donbas] territories. In that regard, a list is being prepared, and the list is very long. We have already handed over this list, and it will be coordinated in Minsk. I think that soon there will be dates for the first part of our prisoners. Why the first? Because there are really a lot of people there,” Zelensky explained.
He also said that lists for a prisoner swap between Ukraine and Russia are also being prepared.
“The second track is talking to Russia about exchanging our citizens who are in Crimea or in Russia. Work has begun, and I am convinced that there will soon be dates, and the public will see the lists,” Zelensky noted.
He stressed that the majority of Ukrainian citizens who are being held illegally in Russia and annexed Crimea are Crimean Tatars. Erdogan, in turn, said that he had decided to provide accommodation to around 500 Crimean Tatar families.
“I have spoken about this with the minister of finance, and he will conduct the relevant negotiations with his Ukrainian counterparts. A budget will be established, and accommodation for these families will be fully built, I’m certain of this,” said Erdogan.
At the end of January 2020, Zelensky’s presidential aide Andriy Yermak said that Ukraine had made a list for a new prisoner exchange with Russia and the separatist Donetsk and Luhansk regions. The list was handed over during a session of the Trilateral Contact Group in Minsk on January 29.
On December 29, 2019, a prisoner swap was carried out between Ukraine and the DPR and LPR. 76 people were returned to Kyiv, 124 to the LPR and DPR.
Ukraine has documentary proof that 101 of its citizens are being held prisoner in the Donbas. Kyiv believes that a total of roughly 300 Ukrainians are being held by the separatists.