The independence supporters have swapped 145 people detained by them in exchange for 222 prisoners held by the Ukrainian military. The prisoner swap took place approximately 22 miles north of Donetsk.
One of the captives reportedly refused to be handed over to the Ukrainian authorities and was allowed to stay in the Donetsk republic. A further five prisoners will be transferred from Luhansk on Saturday. Three captives returned to the DPR are said to be injured, one of them critically.
On Thursday, it was announced that the Kiev government and the self-proclaimed people's republics of Donetsk and Luhansk had agreed to exchange a total of 375 prisoners.
The "all-for-all" prisoner swap was agreed on between Kiev and east Ukrainian militias during a Contact Group meeting mediated by Russia and the Organization for Security and Co-operation (OSCE) in Minsk on September 19. Since then, the conflicting sides have conducted several rounds of prisoner exchanges. The last exchange took place in November.
The latest meeting of Contact Group took place in Minsk on Wednesday.