December 29, 2019 / 5:21 PM / 2 months ago

France's Macron, Germany's Merkel welcome prisoner swap in Ukraine

A prisoner of war gestures a victory sign inside a bus upon the arrival after he was released by Ukrainian authorities and exchanged during a captives' swap between Ukraine and the separatist republics near the Mayorsk crossing point in Donetsk region, Ukraine December 29, 2019. REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko

PARIS (Reuters) - French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomed a prisoner swap completed on Sunday between the Ukrainian government and pro-Russian separatist forces in eastern Ukraine, they said in a joint statement.

Remaining detainees in the five-year conflict were bussed to an exchange point in the breakaway Donbass region, in an exchange that was agreed upon by Ukrainian and Russian leaders at a summit in Paris earlier in December.

“The prisoner swap that was completed today is a long-awaited humanitarian measure,” according to Macron and Merkel’s joint statement, released by the French president’s office. “In line with the decisions taken at the Paris summit, it must now be followed by the full implementation of the ceasefire.”

Reporting by Sarah White; Editing by Alison Williams

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