Russian President Vladimir Putin has stated that he will hold talks with the leadership of the People’s Republic of Donetsk and the People’s Republic of Lugansk, on the proposal to exchange prisoners. This was stated in response to Viktor Medvedchuk, leader of the pro-Russian public movement “Ukrainian Choice – the right of the People”.
This is the first official announcement of direct talks between Putin and the leadership of both Donbass republics.
Medvedchuk and Putin spoke during their combined visit to Istra, exploring the New Jerusalem Monastery.
According to Medvedchuk, Ukraine is ready to exchange 306 prisoners for 74 people captured by the forces of the Donbass, and they would like to do this before Christmas and New Year. Medvedchuk asked Putin to address the heads of the republics, Alexander Zakharchenko and Igor Plotnitsky, to bring this exchange to fruition.
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, who was also present at the conversation, asked Putin to support Medvedchuk’s appeal.
“I will do everything that depends on me. I will talk with the leadership of the Donetsk republic and the Lugansk republic. I hope that what you are proposing will be realized, and as soon as possible,” Putin replied.
Inessa Sinchougova is an Editor and Journalist at Fort Russ News, as well as a research fellow and translator of the Belgrade based think-tank, the Center for Syncretic Studies. She was educated at Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand), in the field of Political Science and was previously employed in Marketing and Communications Strategy for a Multi-National Corporation. She runs a popular YouTube channel for translations of key Russian Foreign Policy figures and appears regularly on other alternative media channels.