Gorlovka, Dec 27 – DAN. Detainees from Ukraine and Donbass Republics have arrived to the Mayorsk checkpoint in the frontline area north of Gorlovka where the exchange is due to take place today.
The convoy from the DPR comprises the bus with detainees, civilian vehicles of journalists and ambulances.
Members of the DPR Defense Ministry and the State Security Ministry are to provide security.
The OSCE SMM monitors are present to record the exchange. The representatives of the Orthodox Church have also arrived.
On December 25, the DPR Head Alexander Zakharchenko had a meeting with the Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus Kirill; the DPR leader confirmed the republic is ready to carry out the swap. The next day, he signed a pardon decree concerning the persons to be returned to Ukraine.
Ukraine was expected to return over 300 people, while the DPR and LPR were to liberate over 70 people.
Last time, the exchange between Donbass and Ukraine took place in the autumn 2016, more than a year ago. Since that time all attempts to coordinate a new swop failed as Kiev protracted talks creating problems and pretexts. The telephone call from Russian president Vladimir Putin to DPR and leaders broke the ice on November 15, as the initiative of Ukrainian special representative for humanitarian issues Viktor Medvedchuk concerning the POWs swop was discussed. Shortly after, the DPR announced it is willing for the exchange which is to take place before the year ends. *ot