Zakharchenko holds a meeting with Patriarch Kirill

Today, on December 25, in Moscow's St. Danil Monastery Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill met with the Heads of Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics Alexander Zakharchenko and Leonid Pasechnik, and also with representatives of the Ukrainian side. The discussion was centered on the cessation of hostilities in Donbass and the exchange of prisoners. The meeting of the leaders of the Republics with the Patriarch lasted more than an hour.

The Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church urged Orthodox believers to pray diligently for peace in Donbass and declared the main achievement of the negotiations – the coordination of the exchange of prisoners in Donbass.

"I hope that the exchange of prisoners that is to take place will initiate a large-scale process of exchanging prisoners, as all those who will still stay in captivity for some time have not been included in the lists. I express the ardent hope that further efforts to release all those in custody will follow this first stage. After all, our people are on both sides. Who else grieves so much as the Russian Church grieves over everything that happens when a brother raises his hand against his brother?" the Patriarch said. He stressed that the issues of the exchange of prisoners and the peaceful resolution of the conflict are very important for the Russian Orthodox Church.

The Head of the Donetsk People's Republic called the agreement of terms "a significant event", specifying that the exchange will take place on December 27 under the "306 for 74" formula.

"I hope that the Ukrainian side will keep its promises," Alexander Zakharchenko said.

In addition, the Head of the DPR, Alexander Zakharchenko, discussed with the Patriarch the issues of church education in the Republic. The Patriarch promised to help with specialized textbooks and teaching aids.