Russia and Ukraine in controversial prisoner swap

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EPA

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Greater than 140 prisoners have been concerned within the change

Professional-Russian separatists and Ukraine have concluded a long-awaited prisoner change of 200 prisoners, the workplace of the Ukrainian president mentioned.

Authorities agreed to the swap – aimed toward enhancing relations between the 2 international locations – at talks in December.

Kiev obtained 76 captives, whereas the pro-Russian separatists reportedly took 124 prisoners.

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Relations between the 2 international locations deteriorated in 2014, when Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula.

Russian-backed rebels then started an insurgency within the Donetsk and Luhansk areas of japanese Ukraine. Greater than 13,000 individuals have been killed within the battle.

That is the second prisoner change between the nations. In September, 24 sailors seized by Russia within the Kerch Strait off Crimea in November 2018 have been launched and – controversially – a “person of interest” over the downing of flight MH17 which killed 298 individuals was handed to Russia.

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Media captionFreed Ukrainians meet households in September after months of separation

Sunday’s swap passed off at a verify level close to the economic city of Horlivka within the Donetsk area.

“The mutual release of the detainees has ended,” the official Twitter account of the Ukrainian president mentioned on Sunday.

The professional-rebel Luhansk Data Centre quoted an area official saying the change had been accomplished and that 9 individuals will stay in mainland Ukraine after refusing to participate within the swap.

Ukrainian activists against the swap blockaded the exit to the jail within the capital the place a few of the pro-Russian prisoners have been being held.

They objected to the discharge of former members of the Berkut – the Ukrainian riot police accused of killing forty-eight individuals throughout pro-democracy demonstrations in February 2014.

In an announcement on Saturday, Ukraine’s prosecutor-general’s workplace mentioned that defendants going through trial would nonetheless have to look in court docket.

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