Independence supporters of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic said Wednesday they want to the swap crew members of the downed An-26 plane for captives held by Kiev.
“A prisoner swap is currently being negotiated," a spokesman for the independence supporters told RIA Novosti, adding the date and terms of the swap are yet to be agreed.
The An-26 military transport plane crashed in Luhansk Region Monday, the special operations' press service said Tuesday. Kiev halted military aviation flights in the east of the country starting July 14 after the accident.
The plane was carrying seven crew members and one accompanying person, Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council said. A spokesman for the Luhansk People’s Republic said militiamen have taken several crew members hostage.
Militia confirmed having downed the plane in the area surrounding Lisichanka, a city near the Russian border, using a Strela-1 missile system.
Since mid-April, Kiev authorities have been conducting a special military operation in eastern Ukraine to suppress the independence movement. More than 450 civilians have died in the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk republics over the past few months as a result of the conflict.
Moscow has repeatedly called on Kiev to immediately put a stop the violence and resolve the conflict through peaceful dialogue.