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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Donetsk Militia Ready to Exchange 14 Prisoners in Swap Deal - Self-Defense Leader

RIA Novosti

10:17 16/07/2014

HORLIVKA (DONETSK REGION), July 16 (RIA Novosti) – The militia of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic is holding captive 14 people and is ready to exchange them for their people, Horlivka self-defense forces' leader Ihor Bezler told RIA Novosti.

"14 people [have been taken captive]. In particular, two paratroopers of the 25th Airborne Brigade, six people from the 72nd Mechanized brigade and three Special Forces officers and a commander from the city of Kirovohrad," Bezler said.

According to the Horlivka self-defense forces' leader, they are exchanging prisoners for their own people.

"We have exchanged unit Alfa officers for Gubarev [Detained soldiers from Ukraine's Security Service who attempted to assassinate Bezler were exchanged in May for Donetsk Republic People's Governor Pavel Gubarev]. Then I gave Lt. Col. Roman Svitan, a pilot and an adviser to Governor Taruta only because Mr. Ruban asked me to do this [Col. Gen. Vladimir Ruban – a mediator on the prisoner swap on the Kiev side]," Bezler said.

He added that later he also freed eight police officers and six border guards. He is planning to exchange the rest for a wife of one of the independence supporters accused by the Ukrainian Security Service of allegedly transferring money from Russia.

"This is a young woman; a wife of a soldier whose only guilt is being a wife of a self-defense officer. I gave my word that we would exchange her. We've been in talks for over a month to exchange her for 14 people," he elaborated.

Speaking about possible negotiations with Kiev, Bezler announced that it was essential to first exchange war prisoners and only then "we will have something to talk about."

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