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Russia-Ukraine prisoners swap deal

Russia and Ukraine swapped dozens of prisoners on Saturday in a carefully-negotiated rapprochement that brought Western praise and could thaw a freeze in relations since Moscow’s annexation of the Crimea region in 2014.

While the exchange of 35 prisoners on each side could help rebuild confidence between Moscow and Kiev and allow them to start talking seriously over other issues including a conflict in east Ukraine, full normalisation is a long way off.

Following lengthy talks, a Russian aircraft carrying freed prisoners from Kiev landed in Moscow while a Ukrainian plane with its released prisoners touched down in Kiev. The freed Ukrainians included 24 sailors detained by Russia during a clash in waters off Crimea last year.

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