President Trump welcomed the exchange of prisoners between Russia and Ukraine on Saturday and called it a "giant step toward peace". – when video appeared of two sets of prisoners who were reunited with their relatives.
Weighing on the transfer, which is hoped that it will alleviate tensions between the two former Soviet countries after five years of bitter conflicts, Trump said: & # 39; Russia and Ukraine have just exchanged a large number of prisoners. Very good news, perhaps a first giant step to peace. Congratulations to both countries! & # 39;
His remarks came when airplanes with prisoners held captive by the two states landed in the capitals of the country while emotional relatives greeted their liberated loved ones.
Russia surrendered 35 prisoners to Ukraine detained in its prisons and detention centers, while in return Ukraine had given up the same number of people.
Trump said: & Russia and Russia have just exchanged a large number of prisoners. Very good news, perhaps a first giant step to peace. Congratulations to both countries! & # 39;
Trump & # 39; s comments came when airplanes with prisoners held captive by the two states landed in the capitals of the country while emotional family members greeted their liberated loved ones
Earlier in the day, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the release deal a & # 39; signal full of hope & # 39 ;.
The Chancellor also called on the conflicting parties to work on the implementation of the Minsk agreements, a detailed roadmap for resolving the conflict that the countries have been working on for a number of years.
The planes, with 70 prisoners, landed almost simultaneously at Vnukovo airport in Moscow and at Boryspil airport in Kiev.
At the airport of the Ukrainian capital, tearful friends and family were waving on the asphalt as the plane approached them, before rushing to hug the released prisoners.
The liberated by Russia include Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov and journalist Roman Sushchenko, convicted of planning terrorist acts.
Other prisoners who landed in Kiev are 24 Ukrainian sailors who were held by the Russian navy in front of the Crimean peninsula last November.
A prisoner was considered a & # 39; person of interest & # 39; for the downing of flight MH17 which killed 298 people, was also released by Ukraine.
The released film director Oleg Sentsov leaves a plane in Ukraine. Aircraft with prisoners freed by Russia and Ukraine landed today in the capitals of the countries
President Volodymyr Zelensky greeted the exchange as a & # 39; first step & # 39; to end their conflict. Russia said it was happy that its citizens had returned home.
& # 39; We have taken the first step, & # 39; he said on the asphalt after greeting and hugging former prisoners at the airport. & # 39; We must take all steps to end this terrible war. & # 39;
Russia has not yet officially confirmed the names of prisoners released by Ukraine, but one person believed to have been released is Volodymyr Tsemakh.
He is a & # 39; person of interest & # 39; in the Netherlands-led investigation into the 2014 shooting of Ukraine on flight MH17 of Malaysian Airlines.
Relations between the two countries deteriorated in 2014, when Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula of Ukraine and fought Russian-backed rebels in Eastern Ukraine.
Relatives of a Ukrainian sailor who has been liberated by Russia are overwhelmed with emotion upon their arrival at Boryspil airport
The conflict has killed more than 13,000 people in five years.
The exchange of prisoners can be an important step in easing relations between Russia and Ukraine and enhancing opportunities to resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel also welcomed the exchange on Saturday as a & # 39; sign of hope & # 39; and called for the implementation of a 2015 cease-fire deal that helped Paris and Berlin broker.
& # 39; This exchange of prisoners between Russia and Ukraine is a sign of hope … it is worth continuing the hard work to implement the Minsk agreement & # 39 ;, Merkel said in a statement from her spokesperson Steffen Seibert on Twitter.
Buses from a Moscow prison that are supposedly carrying Ukrainian prisoners arrived at Vnukovo airport on Saturday.
Attorney Mark Feigin tweeted that the exchange is ongoing and the prisoners include the Ukrainian journalist Sushchenko he has represented.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy (right) greeted Ukrainian prisoners on their arrival in Ukraine
A Ukrainian prisoner hugs his child. The planes landed almost simultaneously at Vnukovo airport in Moscow and at Boryspil airport in Kiev
Film director Oleg Sentsov is the most prominent Ukrainian prisoner in Russia.
In 2015, he was sentenced to 20 years in a Russian Arctic penal colony on the basis of terror after a trial Amnesty International compared to a show trial in the Stalin era.
During the court cases, he remained unbroken, often smiling, singing the Ukrainian national anthem and making challenging remarks.
Sentsov, 43, opposed the 2014 Russian annexation of the Crimea, where he lived.
He was sent to a strict penal colony on the remote Yamal peninsula, where he spent 145 days without solid food last year and demanded the release of all Ukrainian political prisoners.
His serious health problems and support from international film stars including Johnny Depp did not cause the Kremlin to collapse.
Another Ukrainian, Alexander Kolchenko, who was convicted as co-defendant of Sentsov with a lower sentence, was also selected for release.
At the airport of the Ukrainian capital, family members were waving on the asphalt as the plane approached them
Dozens of family members were waiting for the arrival of their loved ones. An exchange of prisoners can be an important step in the facilitation of relations between Russia and Ukraine
The French Foreign Minister welcomed a breakthrough between prisoners between Russia and Ukraine on Saturday and urged each party to make & # 39; concrete new progress & # 39; to end their five-year conflict.
& # 39; It is a gesture that shows the willingness of Russia and Ukraine to renew their dialogue, & # 39; said Jean-Yves Le Drian in a statement.
& # 39; France, alongside Germany, will support the efforts of both parties to make concrete new progress in the coming weeks, & # 39; said Le Drian.
In the meantime, the US greeted the Russia-Ukraine exchange of prisoners and expressed hope that this would lead to more such exchanges and progress in the field of peace.
& # 39; Very pleased to see Ukrainian sailors coming home and Ukraine-Russia prisoner exchange! & # 39 ;, Tweette the US Special Envoy for Ukraine, Kurt Volker.
"I hope it will speed up further prisoner exchanges, renewed ceasefire and progress towards full implementation of Minsk (peace agreement)," he added.
. (TagsToTranslate) Dailymail (t) news (t) Russia (t) Ukraine