UN chief welcomes prisoner exchange between Russia, Ukraine
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed the prisoner exchange between Russia and Ukraine on Saturday, his spokesman said Sunday.
Relatives of Ukrainian prisoners freed by Russia greet them upon their arrival at Boryspil airport. A plane carrying prisoners freed by Russia and Ukraine have landed in the countries' capital. The 35 political prisoners and Ukrainian sailors were freed during Russia-Ukraine prisoner swap 35x35. The swap list includes 24 sailors captured by Russia in the Kerch Strait, and 11 more convicts, including Ukrainian film director Oleh Sentsov. [Photo: SOPA Images/Sipa USA via IC/Anatolii Stepanov]
Stephane Dujarric said in a statement that the UN chief urges all relevant parties to take further measures to ensure continued momentum, including by ensuring a durable ceasefire, easing humanitarian conditions along the contact line, and enabling progress in the implementation of the Minsk agreements.
"He hopes that this important humanitarian act could serve as a positive step towards strengthening confidence among all, enabling regular and constructive dialogue at all levels with a view to paving the way to an eventual settlement of the conflict in Eastern Ukraine," Dujarric added.
Ukraine and Russia conducted an exchange of detainees on Saturday in a step toward easing tensions in east Ukraine's Donbass region and the thawing of bilateral ties.
Since April 2014, an armed conflict between Ukrainian government troops and pro-independence insurgents has been underway in Donbass.
The Minsk agreements, reached in September 2014 and February 2015 respectively, are designed to peacefully end the conflict in Donbass, which envisage a ceasefire, a withdrawal of heavy weaponry from the demarcation line, a prisoner exchange and local elections, among other measures.