Support The Moscow Times!

Kiev Says Russia and Ukraine in Talks for Next Prisoner Swap in March

Mikhail Metzel / TASS

Ukraine said on Sunday it had held talks with the Kremlin on swapping all remaining prisoners from the conflict in east Ukraine, and the next exchange might take place later this month.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy agreed in December to send prisoners home, and scores were handed over just before the end of the year.

But many others are still being held, casting a shadow over efforts to roll out a peace deal and, eventually, settle the status of the disputed region where the fighting raged between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed separatists.

The head of the Ukraine president's office, Andriy Yermak, met senior Kremlin official Dmitry Kozak in Minsk, the presidency said.

"The parties discussed the issues of the mutual release of the detainees," and the plan was to hold the next exchange in March, it added, without giving details on the size of that swap. The conflict that broke out in 2014 killed more than 13,000 people, left a large swathe of Ukraine de facto controlled by the separatists and aggravated the deepest east-west rift since the Cold War.

The full release of prisoners could help thaw relations that have been frozen since Russian forces annexed Ukraine's Crimea region in 2014.

Read more

Independent journalism isn’t dead. You can help keep it alive.

As the only remaining independent, English-language news source reporting from Russia, The Moscow Times plays a critical role in connecting Russia to the world.

Editorial decisions are made entirely by journalists in our newsroom, who adhere to the highest ethical standards. We fearlessly cover issues that are often considered off-limits or taboo in Russia, from domestic violence and LGBT issues to the climate crisis and a secretive nuclear blast that exposed unknowing doctors to radiation.

Please consider making a one-time donation — or better still a recurring donation — to The Moscow Times to help us continue producing vital, high-quality journalism about the world's largest country.