Fri, 18 Oct 2019

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says Moscow is not ruling out a new prisoner swap with Ukraine following the recent one when 70 people held in both countries were released.

Talking to journalists in Moscow on September 13, Peskov said that the process might be drawn out.

'It will require the start of a new process, an exchange of opinions, and most likely will take an extended amount of time and work,' Peskov said, adding that 'nobody excludes, a priori, the possibility and expediency of such a process.'

Peskov's statement came just hours after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said at the opening of the annual Yalta European Strategy (YES) meeting in Kyiv that his government is working to prepare a new list of Ukrainian citizens held in Russia for a possible swap.

'We are now talking about the next stage after our political prisoners [were released from Russia]... I tell you sincerely, we are in the process of the preparation of other lists [of prisoners] and expect the next stage of the prisoner swap process,' Zelenskiy said.

On September 7, Kyiv and Moscow exchanged a total of 70 prisoners in the first major prisoner swap between the two since 2017.

Relations between Moscow and Kyiv have been tense since 2014, when Russia took control of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula and began backing separatists in the conflict in eastern Ukraine, which has left more than 13,000 people dead.

Based on reporting by Interfax, TASS, RIA Novosti, UNIAN, and Ukrayinska Pravda

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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