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Russia and Ukraine Swap Dozens of Prisoners in Sign of Thawing Relations

HeadlineSep 09, 2019

Russia and Ukraine swapped dozens of prisoners Saturday — a move that many are hailing as a major step toward easing tensions between the two nations following Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea. This is Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

President Volodymyr Zelensky: “We have agreed on the first stage of unblocking of our dialogue and on the first step in ending the war: the return of our prisoners of war, our soldiers, our sailors and our territories.”

Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov was one of those freed in the exchange. Amnesty International said in a statement, “Oleg Sentsov and many others jailed following Russia’s occupation and illegal annexation of Crimea are simply victims of politically-motivated prosecution and they should never have been imprisoned in the first place. While it is a relief that they are now free, it is a travesty to see them being used as human bargaining chips in political deals.”

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