The family of military volunteer Oleksiy Kirichenko, who was imprisoned by so-called DNR in August 2014 and is being kept in captivity for the fourth year, hopes to see him home before New Year.
“Over the last two years, the only means of connection with Kirichenko have been written letters,” says his friend and activist Oleksandr Fomintsev. The mobile or other means of communication were forbidden in 2015. Fomintsev adds that Kirichenko’s family and friends were close to despair. However, they have another spark of hope now.
Recently, the coordinator of the Patriot center Oleh Kotenko announced that the large-scale exchange of Ukrainian prisoners and prisoners from Donbas occupied territories is in progress and it is planned to be completed before New Year.
Ukrainian citizens are supposed to be transported to Kharkiv and Mariupol. According to the coordinator, the main time-consuming task now is “legal cleaning” of those people who will be transferred to Donbas as part of the exchange program.
Three hundred and six people are scheduled to be released from Ukrainian prisons and brought to Donbas and 168 Ukrainian citizens must be freed from terrorists’ captivity.
Also, the volunteer noted that it is impossible to name the exact number of the prisoners. Although the Ukrainian part expects to get back 168 people from Donbas prisons, the terrorists claim they only hold captive 95 Ukrainians.
According to Oleh Kotenko, the final date of the exchange will be known only after the documents of all 306 Ukrainian prisoners have been prepared for the exchange.
Text: Olena Sokolynska