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    Members of independent supporters walk past a Ukrainian serviceman during an exchange of prisoners of war outside Donetsk

    All-for-All Prisoner Exchange Mechanism Not Implemented in Donbass

    © REUTERS / Igor Tkachenko
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    Alexander Zakharchenko, the leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) stated that the mechanism of all-for-all prisoner exchange, which has been included in the Minsk protocol on the settlement of the conflict in Donbass, does not work.

    DONETSK (Sputnik) — The mechanism of all-for-all prisoner exchange stipulated in the Minsk agreements on the settlement of the conflict in Ukraine is not implemented in the Donbass region, the leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) said Tuesday.

    "The mechanism of 'all-for-all' [exchange], which has been included in the Minsk protocol — does not work. It does not work, because Ukraine's President [Petro Poroshenko] and his authorities are helpless in the issue and artificially protract the Minsk process," Alexander Zakharchenko told reporters.

    He added that on Tuesday, the self-proclaimed republics of Donbass had transferred two female prisoners to Kiev as a gesture of goodwill on a unilateral basis, and expressed hope that Ukraine would fulfill its promises and return 15 people to Donbass before the New Year.

    "We are ready to accept everyone, they will give. At the same time our gesture of goodwill shows that we are interested to return our people back like no one else. And the 'all-for-all' mechanism should be implemented rigorously. We are ready to communicate with any conscious people, who understand that it is very important. We are open for a dialogue," Zakharchenko added.

    Kiev launched a military operation in Ukraine’s southeast in April 2014, after local residents refused to recognize the new government in Kiev.

    In February 2015, a peace agreement was signed between Ukraine’s conflicting sides in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Prisoner exchange on an "all-for-all" basis is one of the key provisions of the accord.

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    Donetsk People's Republic, Alexander Zakharchenko, Donbass, Ukraine
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