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President welcomes Russia-Ukraine prisoner exchange

Published : 07 Sep 2019, 20:45

Updated : 07 Sep 2019, 20:46

  DF-Xinhua Report

President Sauli Niinistö. File Photo by Matti Matikainen/Xinhua.

President Sauli Niinistö on Saturday welcomed the prisoner exchange between Russia and Ukraine.

In a statement published in social media on Saturday afternoon, Niinistö said the exchange is "the first step forward".

He said that many more steps are still needed to fulfill the Minsk agreements. He described the dialogue between Russia and Ukraine as essential.

Niinistö will travel to Ukraine for an official visit next week.

Ukraine and Russia conducted an exchange of detainees on Saturday in a step towards easing tensions in east Ukraine's Donbass region and the thawing of bilateral ties.

Planes from the two countries brought the freed inmates to Moscow and Kiev respectively. In the 35-for-35 format, Ukraine received 24 sailors, film director Oleg Sentsov, journalist Roman Sushchenko and 9 others.