Russia, Ukraine agree new prisoner swap in Turkiye

AFP , Wednesday 11 Jan 2023

Russia and Ukraine on Wednesday agreed a new prisoner swap during rare talks in Turkiye during which they also discussed the creation of a "humanitarian corridor" in the war zone.

Erdogan attending the International Ombudsman Conference in Ankara
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (C), Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights Dmytro Lubinets (Ombudsman) (R) and High Commissioner for Human Rights of the Russian Federation Tatiana Moskalkova (L), attend the International Ombudsman Conference at the presidential complex in Ankara, Turkyie, on January 11, 2023. AFP


Ukraine's human rights ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets met his Russian counterpart Tatyana Moskalkova on the sidelines of an international conference in Ankara attended by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Moskalkova told reporters after the meeting that they had agreed to exchange "more than 40 prisoners" from each side.

Lubinets mentioned no figures in his own comments to reporters after three hours of talks.

"The meetings are not over. We will continue," he said.

Lubinets and Moskalkova were expected to officially exchange the lists and any other potential agreements during another meeting on Thursday.

Ukraine and Russia have been able to agree prisoner swaps despite unrelenting fighting over the last 11 months.

NATO member Turkiye has maintained good relations with both Kyiv and Moscow while trying to arrange formal peace talks.

It hosted two unsuccessful rounds of talks in the first months of Russia's invasion and then helped to broker a deal that allowed Ukrainian grain shipments to resume across the Black Sea.

Turkish rights ombudsman Seref Malkoc helped to mediate Wednesday's meeting.

"The two commissioners expressed a common demand, to open a humanitarian corridor under the auspices of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, similar to the grain corridor," Malkoc said.

Erdogan later told the international conference that he was "ready" to oversee a "corridor for the wounded".

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