Moscow, Kiev prepare new list to exchange prisoners

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky 'cautious' about peacekeeping mission on Donbass

Elena Teslova   | 13.09.2019
Moscow, Kiev prepare new list to exchange prisoners


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced Friday that Russia and Ukraine are preparing a fresh list to exchange prisoners. 

The topic is on the agenda of the Minsk group meetings and at the consultations in the Normandy Four -- Ukraine, Germany, France and Russia -- format, Zelensky said, speaking at the Yalta European Strategy (YES) forum in the capital Kiev.

"Now we are preparing other lists and waiting for a new round of exchange. We will agree on this in Minsk and in the Normandy process," Zelensky said.

Asked about the possibility of a peacekeeping mission on Donbass, in eastern Ukraine, Zelensky said he was "cautious" about the idea, but he would not mind to have peacekeepers on the Russian-Ukrainian border.

"I am very cautious about this issue of peacekeepers in Donbass. I know that the previous government discussed these issues and the structure of how to introduce a peacekeeping mission. I don't want to have the Abkhazian or Transnistria scenario in the Donbass region. Up to this moment, I have not raised the issue of the peacekeepers in the Minsk process," he said.

As for Crimea, Zelensky promised to fight for it.

Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said "nobody excludes the possibility" of a new round of the exchange, but this process needs more negotiations and work.

"This [new exchange] requires the start of a new process, an exchange of views, a very, very painstaking and certainly time-consuming work. A priority, nobody excludes the possibility and expediency of such a process. Therefore, it is a question of the bilateral contacts," Peskov said. 

On Sept. 7, Moscow and Kiev carried out the first round of exchange of prisoners. A total of 70 people, 35 from each side were released. The move was broadly welcomed by the international society.

Relations between Kiev and Moscow broke down after Russia annexed Crimea following an illegal independence vote in 2014.

The UN, the EU, the U.S., and Turkey do not recognize Crimea as Russian territory.

Ukraine has also blamed Kremlin for separatist violence in eastern Ukraine, near the border with Russia.

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