Donetsk, Dec 26 - DAN. The prisoner exchange with Ukraine due on 27 December must become a breakthrough in a peaceful settlement of the Donbass conflict, DPR head Alexander Zakharchenko told reporters on Tuesday.

“This (prisoner exchange procedure - eds Donetsk News Agency) is a landmark event not only for DPR and LPR, it’s a large breakthrough on the Minsk Agreements,” Zakharchenko said.

The DPR leader expressed the hope that the parties would continue to exchange prisoners after the Wednesday swap. DPR ombudswoman Darya Morozova will lead the Republic’s work on this track in the Contact Group humanitarian subgroup.

According to Zakharchenko, leader of the Ukrainian Choice - People’s Right movement, Ukraine’s special representative for humanitarian issues at the Contact Group Viktor Medvedchuk expressed readiness for further talks over the issue.

“For our part, we did all that was necessary,” Zakharchenko said.

On Monday, Zakharchenko attended a peacemaking meeting in Moscow with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Russia. He stated that DPR, LPR and Ukraine would exchange prisoners on 27 December expressing the hope that Ukraine would honour the agreed terms of the exchange.

Ukraine and the Donbass republics last exchanged prisoners in autumn 2016. The parties have been unable to carry out new POW exchanges since as Ukraine delayed the process creating obstacles and inventing pretexts.

Some headway was made in mid-November. DPR head Alexander Zakharchenko had a telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The parties discussed the prisoner exchange initiative put forward by Ukrainian Choice - People’s Right movement leader Viktor Medvedchuk. DPR authorities later said they were ready for prisoner exchange by the end of this year. *jk