The much-anticipated major prisoner swap between Russia and Ukraine will not happen on Friday, despite earlier reports, Kiev said. This follows the buzz that a plane with people slated for exchange took off from Moscow.
“We can’t name [the exact] date [of the exchange] but I can say that it won’t happen today,” the spokesperson for Security Service of Ukraine, Elena Hitlyanskaya said.
Earlier reports said that a plane, carrying a number of Ukrainian nationals held by Russia, was due to land in Kiev on Friday morning. Neither Moscow, nor Kiev confirmed this. Ukrainian officials later clarified that the talks on the prison exchange are still ongoing. Hitlyanskaya said that the process is going “as planned” and denied that there were “no obstacles” for the swap to commence.
A possibility of a major prisoner swap was one of the stories dominating the news on Russian-Ukrainian relations in recent months. President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky discussed this issue over the phone in July. Last week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that such an exchange requires “meticulous work” and cannot be rushed.
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