Patriarch Kirill Helped to Organise an Exchange of Prisoners Between Kiev and Donbass

Translated by Ollie Richardson


On Monday, December 25th, early in the morning in the Danilov monastery there were intense negotiations – Patriarch Kirill coordinated an exchange of prisoners of war between Kiev and the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics.

Everything begun on November 15th, when the special representative of the President of Ukraine on humanitarian issues in the tripartite contact group on a settlement in Donbass Viktor Medvedchuk asked Vladimir Putin to influence the leaders of the self-proclaimed republics. This took place during a visit by the President to the New Jerusalem monastery in the presence of Patriarch Kirill.

And now, at the residence of his Holiness, the Russian Orthodox Church has long being making efforts for the fastest return of prisoners, the three parties discussed all details for an hour and a half behind closed doors.

“The coordination process was very difficult. The church, I mean the Moscow patriarchy, took part in it no more than was necessary. I would like to express my gratitude for understanding the importance of the fact that on the eve of Christmas there was an exchange of prisoners in the all for all format. The lists didn’t include all those who will still spend some time in captivity. I express hot hope that this stage will continue the process of exchanging prisoners. We have flock there and we have flock there,” stressed Patriarch Kirill. “I am deeply convinced that this conflict is necessary to nobody, it weakens all those who are involved in it, many people have been sacrificed. I very much appreciate the constructive participation of the parties in coordination of  their positions. I hope that this process will become a guarantee of reconciliation.”

Aleksandr Zakharchenko reported that the exchange will take place on December 27th in the format “all for all”, Kiev must release 306 people, and the DPR and LPR – 74.

“I hope that the Ukrainian side will observe what was agreed. People have stayed in captivity for more than three years,” he reminded.

“This is a very important event, and we confirm our readiness for conducting peace talks and a peaceful solution to the conflict,” added the acting head of the LPR Leonid Pasechnik.

And Viktor Medvedchuk dispelled the rumors that have appeared in the Ukrainian media – that the SBU allegedly put names on the list for money.

“Lists were approved on November 15th and were submitted to the President Poroshenko. It didn’t depend on the SBU. They only prepared the technical documentation,” said the representative of Kiev.

“And where will the exchange take place?” asked Komsomolskaya Pravda.

“We discussed the place and time, but we will report about this on December 27th. We can’t specifically say more, proceeding from safety requirements,” explained Medvedchuk.

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