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Ukraine releases 15 people to separatists near front line

Associated Press logo Associated Press 29/12/2016

MOSCOW — Separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine say the government has released 15 people who had been held in custody.

The separatist mouthpiece Donetsk News Agency said Thursday that government representatives handed over eight men and seven women, some of them in poor health, to rebel commanders at a checkpoint near rebel stronghold Donetsk. The separatists this week released to the government two women they had held for months.

Fighting between the separatists and government troops has killed more than 9,600 people since it broke out in 2014.

The Ukrainian president last week pardoned nine people. His representative at talks with the separatists said the government was planning to release them and six others on humanitarian grounds.

Officials did not give their names or say on what charges they had been held.

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