Pro-Russian Rebels Release 1,200 Prisoners in Ukraine

September 8, 2014

Pro-Russian rebels have released 1,200 prisoners in Ukraine as part of the twelve-point ceasefire agreement signed Friday in Minsk, Belarus.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced the release of the prisoners during a speech he gave in the south-eastern port city of Mariupol.

Despite the release of prisoners and recent ceasefire, Russia is still facing possible sanctions from the European Union.

The measures are aimed at "promoting a change of course in Russia's actions destabilizing eastern Ukraine," said EU Council President Herman van Rompuy.

Currently, the EU is waiting to assess the implementation of the ceasefire before issuing the planned sanctions, which will mainly target Russian oil companies Rosneft and Transneft and the petroleum unit of state gas monopoly Gazprom.

Russia has warned that if the EU goes ahead with the sanctions it will block international flights through its airspace in retaliation. 

Despite uncertainty surrounding the possible increase in EU sanctions, the ceasefire in Ukraine continues to hold and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe has published the full twelve-point agreement in Russian, which includes the following conditions as summarized by BBC

  • Ensure an immediate bilateral ceasefire
  • Carry out decentralisation of power, allowing temporary local self-government in areas of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine under a "special status" law
  • Immediately free all hostages and illegally detained persons
  • Ensure monitoring on the Ukrainian-Russian border and a security zone
  • Ensure the holding of snap local elections in Donetsk and Luhansk
  • Remove illegal armed groups, military hardware, and all fighters and mercenaries from Ukrainian territory
  • Pass a law against the prosecution and punishment of people over certain events in Donetsk and Luhansk region


Photo courtesy of Artem Gukasov