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Officials from both sides in the simmering, frozen conflict in East Ukraine have confirmed a large prisoner exchange will take place on the 27th of December. The development was confirmed after pro-Russian rebels met with Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill in Moscow.
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Iryna Herashchenko, first deputy speaker of parliament in Ukraine wrote on her Facebook account on December 25: “Seventy-four Ukrainians will be released [by the separatists] on December 27. We will exchange them for 306 people.” She had previously stated Ukraine was ready “to hand over all of those who can be released under Ukrainian laws in order to take confirmed Ukrainians in exchange.” Separatist leader Aleksandr Zakharchenko said the swap would be held “under the 306 for 74 formula,” reported RFERL.
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The prisoner of war swap could be a sign that Moscow and Kyiv are tiring of the war and that Russian President Vladimir Putin is looking for a way out of the conflict, which is costing Moscow financially as well as geopolitically.
U.S. President Trump has recently authorized the sale of Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine, as well as large-caliber sniper rifles. Moscow has voiced its anger at the decision, saying it will only lead to Kyiv taking more aggressive moves on the battlefield, and more death.