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Ukraine, separatist rebels agree on major prisoner…

Ukraine, separatist rebels agree on major prisoner…

Separatist leaders and a Ukrainian government representative said in televised comments on Monday that they would exchange prisoners on Wednesday.

More than 10,000 people have been killed and 1.5 million displaced in Ukraine since fighting began four years ago. The Kremlin said the pair agreed to have aides draw up a list of conditions to allow the observers' return, including a prisoner swap between the Ukrainian government and pro-Russia rebels.

The Orthodox Patriarch had previously met the leaders of the eastern Ukrainian separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, Alexandr Zakharchenko and Leonid Pasechnik, respectively. A United States decision to provide Ukraine with weapons has seen Russian Federation warn the U.S. is encouraging "new bloodshed".

A Reuters photographer at the scene saw the Ukrainian prisoners being loaded onto buses in the town of Horlivka and taken to territory controlled by the Ukrainian government. Dozens of prisoners of war are still held captive on both sides of the slow-simmering conflict.

More people are expected to be exchanged in another location later Wednesday.

On Christmas Eve, French president Emmanuel Macron and German chancellor Angela Merkel condemned growing high-fire violations in a statement affirming that solution to conflict can only be peaceful and in which y returned (a) to express ir support for sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and Minsk agreements.

On Dec. 20, during the meeting of the Contact Group on Ukraine's crisis in Minsk, Belarus, the conflicting parties agreed to carry out the exchange of the detained persons before the winter holidays.

Moscow warned on Saturday that Washington was encouraging "new bloodshed" in eastern Ukraine with its decision to provide the country with lethal weapons, while Kyiv expressed the hope that arms supplies could help contain Russian Federation.

The President of Ukraine, Petred Poroshenko, who described as "sudden and provocative" Russian decision to withdraw its officers from joint centre, said last week that it would reinforce military contingent in east of country in face of threat of an escalation in Clashes with Russian.

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