MOSCOW, December 24 (Sputnik) – Independence supporters in Ukraine's south-eastern regions (Donbas) have released over 1,300 Ukrainian soldiers they had captured as prisoners in the course of Kiev's military operation in the region, the country's Security Service has announced in a statement.
"As of December 23, as a result of efforts on the part of Ukrainian authorities and volunteers 1,351 Ukrainian citizens have already been freed," the statement says.
The all-for-all prisoner exchange was agreed to by the Kiev government and eastern Ukrainian independence supporters at a Contact Group meeting on the settlement of the Ukrainian crisis in Minsk in September.
Since then, several prisoner exchanges have taken place between Kiev and the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk people's republics (DPR and LPR).
On December 10, Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council said that the country's President Petro Poroshenko had ordered the release of prisoners held by Ukrainian authorities by December 25.
According to the council, DPR and LPR requested the release of about 500 prisoners.
Independence supporters themselves are believed to hold 684 prisoners.