Dec 29, 2019 - World

Ukraine, Russian-backed rebels swap prisoners in step toward ending war

Pro-Russian rebels walk during a prisoner exchange.
Pro-Russian rebels walk during a prisoner exchange. Photo: Genya Savilov/AFP via Getty Images

The Ukrainian government and pro-Russia separatists exchanged dozens of prisoners on Sunday, a small step toward ending a six-year conflict in the eastern Donbass region that has claimed the lives of at least 13,000 soldiers and civilians, the AP reports.

The big picture: The exchange comes weeks after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky held preliminary peace talks in Paris with Russian President Vladimir Putin and the leaders of France and Germany. Ukraine's government released around 87 separatist detainees at a checkpoint in eastern Ukraine in exchange for an estimated 55 prisoners from the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic.

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