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Ukraine proRussia rebels swap war prisoners

first_imgDONETSK, Ukraine — Ukrainian authorities and pro-Russia rebels exchanged nearly 370 prisoners Friday, a major step toward easing hostilities in eastern Ukraine.Ukraine handed over 222 prisoners and the rebels released 145 people, according to Russia’s state RIA Novosti news agency — the biggest one-time prisoners swap since the pro-Russian insurgency flared up in eastern Ukraine in April. The Interfax news agency quoted Svyatoslav Tsegolko, a spokesman for Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, saying that 146 Ukrainian prisoners were released Friday and another four will be freed on Saturday. The figures corresponded to earlier Ukrainian official statement, which said that 150 Ukrainian prisoners were to be released.Hundreds of others were released during previous months.Numbers of those to be released varied Friday and tensions were flying high as buses carrying the prisoners arrived at a site north of the main rebel stronghold of Donetsk. At some point during the exchange, separatist rights ombudsman Darya Morozova was quoted by Tass news agency as saying that the exchange was pushed back until Saturday.Russia’s state television showed Ukrainian war prisoners boarding buses in the main rebel stronghold of Donetsk before being driven to a location north of the city where the exchange took place.last_img read more