The President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, spoke on the phone with the Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel. The Kremlin's website indicated that the politicians discussed the situation in the Donbas. Merkel asked her Russian colleague why Russian officers left the Joint Center for Control and Coordination for the ceasefire and stabilization of the Contact Line (JCCC).
In response, Putin accused the Ukrainian authorities “who had made it difficult for the Russian military to work because of various restrictions." According to him, Moscow tried to resolve the situation, but they had not received any response from Kyiv.
The leaders of the Russian Federation and the Federal Republic of Germany decided to work out conditions that would allow the Russian military to return to the JCCC. They also supported the idea of the mutual exchange of prisoners and the Christmas truce announced by the contact group.
Russian officers returned 75 people from Ukraine on December 19th. The JCCC was created in 2014 as part of the Minsk Agreements. It included officers from the General Staffs of Russia and Ukraine.