Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron spoke on the phone on Sunday and lauded the prisoner exchange between Kyiv and Moscow that took place on September 7. The politicians expressed hope that the exchange would help to improve Russian-Ukrainian relations. Macron and Putin also voiced their support for continuing peace talks in the Normandy Format (Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France).
During the call, Putin stressed that there is “no alternative” to the measures prescribed in the Minsk Agreements for resolving the conflict in Eastern Ukraine. “The Russian President remarked on the advisability of preparing thoroughly to hold another Normandy Format summit, and also of working on the decisions that could be approved by the leaders at the end of such a meeting,” the Kremlin’s press service reported.
Putin emphasized that Kyiv is obligated to comply with the agreements reached during the previous summits in Paris and Berlin in 2015 and 2016, including the withdrawal of forces to the agreed parts of the demarcation line.
During the call, the Russian and French leaders also expressed their support for joint efforts to save the Iran nuclear deal. Putin and Macron also confirmed that the joint committee for cooperation on security matters would reconvene in Moscow on September 9, attended by the foreign and defense ministers of both countries.
On September 7, Russia and Ukraine carried out a prisoner exchange, each releasing 35 prisoners. The released Russians included RIA Novosti Ukraine editor-in-chief Kirill Vyshinsky and Vladimir Tsemakh, a witness in the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 case.