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Russian separatists in Ukraine signal support for peace deal



Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine on Tuesday signaled their support for measures agreed by Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky aimed at ending the long-running conflict in the region.

The two presidents met for the first time on Tuesday and agreed to a full ceasefire in eastern Ukraine by the end of 2019 as well as the release of all conflict-related detainees.

The ombudswoman, Darya Morozova, told newsmen in eastern Ukraine that the prisoner exchange could be completed by the end of 2019.

Morozova said the Russian side had 53 prisoners, which it was prepared to exchange for 88 from the Ukrainian side.

Zelensky set Dec. 24 as the date for the exchange after the summit in Paris, which was also attended by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron who brokered the talks.

A lawmaker in the Luhansk region,Rodion Miroshnik, said direct dialogue between the separatists and the Ukrainian Government would be necessary to implement several points agreed at the Paris summit.

Miroshnik said that the region was prepared to enter into such dialogue.

The rebellion in eastern Ukraine erupted after Kiev’s pro-Russian President was ousted in a 2014 political pivot toward the West and away from Russia’s traditional sphere of influence.

Meanwhile, while Putin represents the Donbass separatists in international peace talks, his government had repeatedly denied allegations of direct involvement in the conflict. Ukraine accused Russia of waging war on its territory.

According to estimates by the UN, about 13,000 people have been killed in the conflict.

Edited by: Yahaya Isah/Emmanuel Yashim

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