Kyiv, Russia-Backed Separatists Exchange Captives In Eastern Ukraine

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A United States decision to provide Ukraine with weapons has seen Russian Federation warn the U.S. is encouraging "new bloodshed".

Ukraine's government and Russia-backed separatists have completed a long-awaited exchange of prisoners near the town of Horlivka in eastern Ukraine.

It is the largest such swap since the 2014 outbreak of the insurgency.

Meanwhile, Zakharchenko suggested the exchange would use the "306 for 74" formula, meaning Ukraine would free 306 captured rebels while the pro-Russia militants would release 74 Ukrainian soldiers in exchange.

On Tuesday, Poroshenko met with the relatives of the hostages, saying: "Nothing is more important than to return our people home", according to a presidential statement.

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Poroshenko emphasized that the exchange was possible due to the Minsk agreements.

On Christmas Eve, French president Emmanuel Macron and German chancellor Angela Merkel condemned growing high-fire violations in a statement affirming that solution to conflict can only be peaceful and in which y returned (a) to express ir support for sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and Minsk agreements.

Both sides spent days hammering out the lists of prisoners.

According to Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), at least five soldiers have been killed in combat during past week and dozens of people, including civilians, were injured. The move has angered Moscow, which has warned that Washington's involvement could result in an escalation of the fighting. The Kremlin has also continued to aid pro-Russia fighters in the eastern part of Ukraine, where ties to Russia are stronger.Nauert's statement also said Tillerson and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov agreed to continue to seek a diplomatic solution to the threat posed by North Korea's nuclear weapons program and to support negotiations toward a peaceful end to the ongoing civil war in Syria, where the US and Russia have supported opposing sides.

"Kyiv revanchists are shooting at Donbass every day; they don't want to conduct peace negotiations and dream of doing away with the disobedient population".

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