WORLD Zelensky, Putin agree to exchange detainees


Zelensky, Putin agree to exchange detainees


02:53, December 11, 2019

zelenskiy putin (afp).jpg

(Photo: AFP)

KIEV, Dec. 10 (Xinhua) -- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to exchange all the remaining prisoners detained in eastern Ukraine by the end of 2019 during the Normandy Four Summit, said the Ukrainian president's office on Tuesday.

A final communique signed by the leaders of the four countries of the summit set out the prisoner exchange, which Zelensky called his most significant victory.

"Today, Ukraine, Germany, France, and Russia have discussed and agreed on some essential things. Our countries shall promote the mutual release of prisoners on the "all for all" basis by Dec. 31, 2019," said the Ukrainian president at a briefing held after his meeting with Putin in Paris.

"Human life has always been the most important thing for me. The main victory for me -- which was my main goal -- is that we agreed on the 'all for all' exchange. Minsk agreements state this, but now we have decided on the terms. We really want our citizens to come home and spend New Year holidays with their loved ones," said Zelensky.

The Ukrainian president said that the exchange process would take place in the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine when people detained there will be freed.

Zelensky also said that the possibility of releasing people detained in Crimea and on Russian territory was also discussed during the face-to-face meeting with Putin.

"Let's take the first step, the big step, because we can make 72 people's return home possible. We really want this to happen by the end of the year," Zelensky emphasized.

The leaders of Ukraine, Russian, France, and Germany met in Paris on Monday for the Normandy Four Summit to help to resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine. The last such summit was held in 2016.

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