Zelensky expects 72 Ukrainian hostages to be freed from Russia-occupied Donbas

04:20, 10 December 2019
Politics
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REUTERS

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has announced the Normandy Four leaders in Paris on December 9 backed the idea that there should be an exchange of detainees as a result of which 72 Ukrainian hostages may return home from Russia-occupied Donbas.

"The exchange. Honestly, 'all for all' is an abstract issue. We agreed to start [the swap] from 'all identified for all identified.' We'll be shown the lists, we are talking about Donbas now," he told reporters in the wake of the Normandy summit.

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According to Zelensky, the exchange involves three sides: the first are those who are in Ukraine and those who are in Russia-occupied Donbas; the second are those held in Russia and the third are those held in Crimea.

"I'd like that all them to be [exchanged] simultaneously, but it's difficult. Yet, we discussed that we would negotiate this and would figure out how to do this. Let's take the first step. This is a big step because 72 people may return home. I really want this," he said.

Zelensky says it is difficult for him to talk about exact dates of the exchange, but he "really wanted to do this before the end of the year."

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