09:01 GMT25 January 2020
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    Ukrainian lawmaker Nadezhda Savchenko said Saturday she was open for prisoner swap talks in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, in an interview with a local broadcaster.

    KIEV (Sputnik) — Ukrainian convict turned lawmaker Nadezhda Savchenko said Saturday she was open for prisoner swap talks with Ukraine’s breakaway Donetsk and Luhansk regions, in an interview with a local broadcaster.

    Savchenko was convicted in Russia last month as an accessory to the murder of two journalists in eastern Ukraine and pardoned by President Vladimir Putin. Ukraine simultaneously released two Russian citizens sentenced to jail terms on terror-related charges.

    "The opposing side has not agreed to this [direct talks] yet because they want to take the issue to the political arena," Savchenko told Radio Svoboda. "But I think it’s always easier to talk directly… I’m ready to talk to those I went up against on the battlefield."

    Under Ukraine’s Minsk peace deal with authorities in breakaway eastern provinces, the warring parties are to continue prisoner exchanges as part of a reconciliation process. Russian upper-house speaker Valentina Matvienko stressed that Savchenko’s release was not an exchange.


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    Ukrainian conflict, prisoner swap, Minsk agreements, Nadezhda Savchenko, Luhansk, Donetsk, Ukraine
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