"It was agreed to initiate the procedure for the exchange of prisoners of war, illegally detained persons and convicts in the '208 for 69' format," he said at a briefing on Thursday, July 18.
According to him, 69 people are Ukrainians who are detained in occupied Donbas, and 208 are persons who stay in government-controlled areas and who are requested by the opposite party.
Bezsmertny also noted that the Ukrainian side was ready to start this procedure even yesterday and "we could even do this exchange today," but the Russian side opposed it.
"Therefore, we will carry out a legal clean-up procedure. [...] Those among 208 and 69 are individuals with different categories of a legal clean-up. In some cases [their release] will take several days, in other cases it will be several weeks, and in some other cases it could be several months," he said.
Darka Olifer, spokesperson for Ukraine's representative in the TCG, Leonid Kuchma, said earlier that the parties at a meeting of the TCG on July 17 agreed to begin preparations for the mutual release of the confirmed 69 people being held in the occupied Donbas and 208 people who stay in the penitentiary institutions of Ukraine.