Merkel and Macron welcome exchange of prisoners in Donbas

German government deputy spokesperson Martina Fitz wrote on her Twitter that Berlin and Paris welcome the exchange of prisoners between the parties involved in the military conflict in the Donbas.

As Fitz noted, the exchange should help restore trust between the parties and establish a ceasefire. "Amid the celebration of the New Year and Orthodox Christmas, today's exchange has become a humanitarian gesture that everyone was expecting for a long time," said Fitz.

The exchange is the proof of the implementation of the commitments made on December 9 during the Normandy Four Summit. The French President and the German Chancellor thanked the participants of the contact group for their efforts in organizing this exchange, reads the joint statement of the French President and the German Chancellor.

The leaders of the two countries stated that it is essential to make efforts to ensure the exchange of all prisoners involved in this military conflict. In this regard, they also recalled that it is crucial that representatives of international organizations, in particular, the International Committee of the Red Cross, have full and unconditional access to all remaining detainees.

On December 29, an exchange of prisoners between the authorities of Ukraine and the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics took place on the demarcation line near the Mayorske checkpoint north of Horlivka.

Fifty-two people were handed over to Ukraine, and Kyiv handed over 60 people.

In turn, 76 people were handed over to the Ukrainian authorities, reports Ukrainian Security Service. Former prisoners were met at Kyiv's Boryspil airport by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukrainian Defense Minister Andriy Zahorodniuk, and Chief of the General Staff of Ukrainian Armed Forces Ruslan Khomchak.

  Merkel, Macron, Donbas, Ukraine