Ukrainian servicemen kept in penitentiary institutions of the Donetsk People’s Republic gave a positive assessment of detention conditions. Today, on the eve of the expected exchange, Russian and Republican journalists were allowed to them.
The meeting took place in the correctional colony in Makeyevka. Only prisoners of war are kept there. They were far from hostile when the journalists came. According to a DAN correspondent, the men looked neat and well-groomed – contrary to the statements made in Ukraine. In a conversation with journalists, servicemen told their stories of being imprisoned, many of which seem frankly absurd. For example, a native of Dnepropetrovsk Alexander mixed up the roads. He was detained in Gorlovka, when he thought he was heading to Dzerzhinsk, controlled by Ukrainian forces.
“I had a head trauma with a cut. After being captured in the DPR, I was treated properly. Medical assistance was provided: they took me to various facilities, and medical assistance was provided in all of them,” Alexander noted.
Other servicemen kept in the colony confirmed that POWs are treated properly in the Republic. They are kept in a separate building, so they never meet other prisoners. Each ward accommodates no more than three persons. All necessary furniture and toilet are available, sealed units are installed in the windows, meals are provided on schedule.
“We are treated humanely. The meals are quite good. You can see our ward for yourself. Every morning we go for a walk. I don’t want to take part in the fighting any more. The only thing I want is to return home. I miss my family so much,” says Yuriy from Volyn oblast, the former serviceman of 59th Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
In the DPR all captives have the possibility to communicate with their family. They also receive parcels from relatives: food, medicine, books and personal belongings. “Most often we exchange letters. We are also allowed to make phone calls. It’s not available as much as we’d like, but there is a possibility,” – said Bogdan from Belaya Tserkov.
To be recalled, the last time when the exchange took place between Ukraine and Donbass Republics was in the Autumn 2016 – more than a year ago. Since then, it was not possible to agree on a new exchange at meetings in Minsk. The Ukrainian side constantly delayed the process, creating all new obstacles and excuses. The progress started in mid-November this year. The DPR Head Alexander Zakharchenko had a telephone conversation with the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin on November 15. An initiative of the leader of movement “Ukrainian choice – the right of the people” Victor Medvedchuk regarding the exchange was discussed. Later, DPR authorities said they were fully prepared for the procedure and the exchange of prisoners had to be held before the end of the year.