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Ukraine government, separatist rebels exchange prisoners as part of cease-fire deal

  • Pro-Russian rebels drive multiple rocket launchers "Grad" (means "hail") in the town of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014. Two volleys of rocket fire rang out in Ukraine's eastern, rebel-held city of Donetsk, underscoring the difficulties of enforcing a cease-fire almost a week after it was signed. The city council of Donetsk confirmed in a statement Thursday there had been multiple explosions during the morning, but reported no casualties. ( AP Photo)

    Pro-Russian rebels drive multiple rocket launchers "Grad" (means "hail") in the town of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014. Two volleys of rocket fire rang out in Ukraine's eastern, rebel-held city of Donetsk, underscoring the difficulties of enforcing a cease-fire almost a week after it was signed. The city council of Donetsk confirmed in a statement Thursday there had been multiple explosions during the morning, but reported no casualties. ( AP Photo)  (The Associated Press)

  • Pro-Russian rebel leader from eastern Ukraine Andrei Purgin smiles during a press conference in the town of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine,  Friday, Sept. 12, 2014. Government and rebel forces early Friday exchanged dozens of prisoners captured during fighting in Ukraine, as part of a cease-fire agreement sealed earlier this month. The transfer took place in the dark outside the main rebel stronghold of Donetsk under the watch of international observers. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

    Pro-Russian rebel leader from eastern Ukraine Andrei Purgin smiles during a press conference in the town of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, Friday, Sept. 12, 2014. Government and rebel forces early Friday exchanged dozens of prisoners captured during fighting in Ukraine, as part of a cease-fire agreement sealed earlier this month. The transfer took place in the dark outside the main rebel stronghold of Donetsk under the watch of international observers. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)  (The Associated Press)

Government and rebel forces have exchanged dozens of prisoners captured during fighting in Ukraine as part of a cease-fire agreement sealed earlier this month.

The transfer took place outside the main rebel stronghold of Donetsk early Saturday under the watch of international observers.

President Petro Poroshenko says 36 Ukrainian servicemen were released after negotiations. He says another 21 soldiers were freed the day before.

Ukrainian forces handed over 31 rebels detained over the course of the five-month conflict.

Hundreds of prisoners are believed to be held by both sides, although no firm figure has been provided by either.

A cease-fire between separatists and the Ukrainian military took effect last Friday but has already been serially violated. Shortly after the prisoner exchange, a volley of rocket fire was heard from central Donetsk.