Dec 29, 2019

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

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.

Go deeper: Ukraine's Zelensky says Trump should not have blocked aid: "We're at war"

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BuzzFeed: Pompeo to meet with Ukraine's Zelensky next week

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to Ukraine on Jan. 31 to meet with President Volodymyr Zelensky, BuzzFeed News reported Wednesday, citing three diplomatic sources with knowledge of Pompeo's schedule.

Why it matters: It's the first time a member of the U.S. cabinet will meet Zelensky since the House voted to impeach President Trump on charges that he sought to pressure his Ukrainian counterpart to announce investigations into his political rivals.

Go deeperArrowJan 22, 2020

Ukraine president rejects prime minister's resignation after audio leak

Ukraine Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk. Photo: Olena Khudiakova/ Ukrinform / Barcroft Media via Getty Images.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky rejected Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk's resignation on Friday, days after he was caught making disparaging comments about Zelensky's understanding of economics, AP reports.

Context: In audio that leaked earlier this week, Honcharuk told National Bank officials that Zelensky, a former television star with no prior political experience, "has a very primitive understanding of the economy.”

Go deeperArrowJan 17, 2020

Trump denies Bolton book allegations that Ukraine aid was tied to Bidens

President Trump speaks during a meeting as then-national security adviser John Bolton listens. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump strongly denied early Monday allegations his former national security adviser John Bolton reportedly made in an upcoming book that the holdup of aid to Ukraine was tied to demands for investigations into his political opponent Joe Biden.

What he's saying: "I NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens. In fact, he never complained about this at the time of his very public termination. If John Bolton said this, it was only to sell a book," Trump said on Twitter.

Go deeperArrowJan 27, 2020