According to Valeriya Lutkovska, Verkhovna Rada Human Rights Commissioner, Volodymyr Sleptsov, Toretsk mayor (Donetsk region) and six other people had refused at the last moment from transferring them to the territory of the Donetsk region not controlled by the government within the framework of the exchange of prisoners that took place on December 27, 2017. 

“So it happened with him (Sleptsov) and 6 other people who arrived on the territory not controlled by the government and  clearly stated there: we do not want to stay here, but we want to return to the territory controlled by Ukraine," Lutkovska noted.

Lutkovska noted that Sleptsov was transported, first of all, because of his health condition.

“And another 6 peiople were transferred later, as no one without his will can be abandoned on uncontrolled territory”.

She went on saying that the militants had not prevented these people from deciding not to stay.

Earlier, QHA reported that 15 people from those whom the Ukrainian side was supposed to transfer to the Russian-controlled terrorist organizations DPR and LPR within the framework of the liberation of Ukrainian hostages, refused the exchange, and expressed a desire to stay in the territory controlled by Ukraine.

 December 27, hostage exchange took place in the Donbas. This was the first and the most extensive exchange in two years.

According to the SBU, 73 hostages returned to the controlled territory of Ukraine. Of these, 16 Ukrainians were held captive by militants of the terrorist group "LPR", and 57 were hostages in the occupied territory of the Donetsk region.

Ukraine transferred 233 people to the occupied territory.

The plane with the Ukrainians liberated from the captivity of the ORDLO militants arrived at the airport "Boryspil" on December 28, at approximately 00:25. At the airport they were met by hundreds of people.

In turn, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko promised to release the remaining prisoners as soon as possible.