Updated 1:46 p.m. Moscow Time
DONETSK, September 12 (RIA Novsoti) – The prisoner exchange currently between the Kiev government and the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk (DPR and LPR) may involve up to 1,500 people in total, DPR Prime Minister Andrei Purgin said.
"In total, we will be able to exchange up to 1,500 people, on both sides," he told RIA Novosti on Friday.
During the meeting of the Contact Group on Ukraine in Minsk on September 5, the representatives of Ukraine, Russia and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) agreed to a ceasefire between Ukrainian forces and independence supporters.
The sides also agreed to the international monitoring of the truce, an "all for all" prisoner exchange and humanitarian aid access to the troubled regions.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Friday that the local militia released 57 Ukrainian prisoners who were captured during the standoff between the independence supporters and Kiev forces.
Earlier, the Ukrainian president said that about 700 captives had already been handed over to Kiev by the eastern Ukrainian independence forces and that some 500 more would be released by the end of the week.
"We hope very much that the prisoner exchange process is to continue," Purgin said, adding that this issue, along with compliance with the ceasefire agreement, will be discussed with Kiev at a Skype conference later on that day.
Ukraine has been engulfed in violent internal conflict since mid-April, when Kiev began its military operation against independence supporters in the southeastern regions of the country. According to United Nations' estimates, some 3,000 people have been killed and more than 6,000 wounded since the start of the offensive.