Ukraine,Russia working on new prisoner swap

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Ukraine,Russia working on new prisoner swap
Ukraine,Russia working on new prisoner swap :File Photo

Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed separatists in the country’s east have undertaken an exchange of prisoners that may lead towards peace a deal.

The exchange of prisoners in a step that observers hope will help push the two sides towards a peace deal to end their conflict, which has lasted for more than five years.

Ukrainian presidency says Kyiv and Moscow are working towards new prisoner exchange, days after swapping 200 captives.

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Ukraine and Russia are working towards a new prisoner exchange, just two days after swapping 200 captives, Kyiv said after Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke on the phone.

The two countries “agreed to immediately start agreeing on lists of names for freeing Ukrainians, including Crimeans, who are in Crimea and in Russia, as well as Russians in Ukraine,” the Ukrainian presidency said in a statement on Tuesday.

The news comes after a massive exchange of prisoners on Sunday, with 12 Ukrainian soldiers and 64 civilians flown to Kyiv.

Ukraine also handed over people in its custody to pro-Russian separatists, including five riot policemen suspected of shooting protesters during a pro-Western uprising in 2014.

Zelenskyy said on Sunday that Kyiv was working on returning those imprisoned in Crimea, without specifying numbers.

Moscow annexed the Crimean peninsula in 2014, shortly after the Maidan uprising removed pro-Moscow president Viktor Yanukovych.

The Kremlin, which also provided a readout of the phone call on Tuesday, remarked on the “positive” exchange on Sunday but made no mention of any similar swap being planned.

Exchanging prisoners resumed following face-to-face talks between Putin and Zelenskyy in Paris on December 9, in a European-mediated summit aimed at de-escalating the continent’s only active war.

The conflict was sparked in 2014 in eastern Ukraine between Kyiv and pro-Russian separatists following the annexation of Crimea and has led to the deaths of more than 13,000 people.

Ukraine and Russia are working on new prisoner exchange.