NATO has welcomed the return of captive Ukrainian sailors and Ukrainian political prisoners from the Russian federation as part of a prisoner swap between Kyiv and Moscow.

"We welcome that the Ukrainian sailors seized by Russia last November are finally back home, as well as the film-maker Oleg Sentsov. This is a step in the right direction," Spokesperson for NATO Oana Lungescu said in a statement on September 7.

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"NATO continues to call on Russia to fulfil all its obligations under the Minsk Agreements, including the release of all prisoners," she said.

At the same time, it remains important to establish the truth and accountability for the downing of flight MH17, in line with United Nations Security Council Resolution 2166, she added.

As UNIAN reported earlier, 24 Ukrainian sailors, who were captured by Russian special forces near the Kerch Strait in November 2018, and 11 political prisoners were returned by Russia to Ukraine as part of a prisoner exchange operation on September 7. The political prisoners include Roman Sushchenko, Oleh Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko, Volodymyr Balukh, Stanislav Klykh, Mykola Karpyuk, Oleksiy Syzonovych, Pavlo Hryb, Edem Bekirov, Yevhen Panov, and Arthur Panov.

Meanwhile, 35 people were transferred to Russia. All of them were convicted of various crimes in Ukraine or are persons involved in criminal proceedings, including an investigation into the downing of flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine in July 2014.