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7 Sep, 2019 12:11

‘Sign of hope’: Prisoner swap between Russia & Ukraine welcomed by world leaders

‘Sign of hope’: Prisoner swap between Russia & Ukraine welcomed by world leaders

World leaders including Angela Merkel, Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macro praised the prisoner exchange deal agreed between Moscow and Kiev which saw dozens of men repatriated on Saturday.

The long-awaited exchange saw 35 men swapped for 35, Russian Human Rights Commissioner Tatyana Moskalkova confirmed. Each group was taken by plane to their respective capital cities, where their return was warmly welcomed.

Also on rt.com ‘Historical humanitarian action’: Prisoner exchange between Russia and Ukraine completed

In a statement, the German chancellor hailed the swap as a “sign of hope” and called for “continuing the hard work to implement the Minsk agreement”.

US President Donald Trump reacted to the “very good news” on Twitter, congratulating both countries and saying it was “perhaps a first giant step to peace.”

French President Emmanuel Macron welcomed the exchange as well, calling it a “decisive step” towards resumption of “constructive dialogue.” France, alongside Germany, will step up their efforts within the Normandy format to see through the actual implementation of the Minsk agreement, he said in a statement.

US Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker said the US “hopes it builds momentum for further prisoner exchanges, renewed ceasefire, and progress toward full Minsk implementation.”

The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, said in a statement that the bloc hopes all parties take the opportunity to build on the momentum of the detainee release, praising those “who have worked tirelessly for this outcome.”

Tomas Petricek, the Czech minister for foreign affairs also praised Saturday’s development, tweeting that he welcomed the exchange, while Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto called it a “welcome first step forward” in relations between Russia and Ukraine.

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