The President and the German Chancellor welcome the release and exchange of prisoners which took place today in eastern Ukraine.
This development is in line with the commitment made on 9 December 2019, during the Paris summit in “Normandy” format, to facilitate the release and exchange between now and the end of the year of individuals taken prisoner during the conflict.
The President and the German Chancellor thank the participants of the Trilateral Contact Group, meeting under the auspices of the OSCE, for the efforts which enabled this exchange. They are mindful of the fact that further work will still be necessary to enable the exchange of all prisoners linked to the conflict, and recall in this context the vital importance of complete, unconditional access by international organizations – particularly the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) – to all prisoners, and of the search for missing persons.
With New Year and Orthodox Christmas celebrations drawing near, today’s exchange of prisoners is a long-awaited humanitarian measure which must help rebuild trust between the parties. In accordance with the decisions of the Paris summit, it must now be accompanied by the full, complete implementation of the ceasefire, as reaffirmed by the Trilateral Contact Group on 18 December.
In the coming months, France and Germany will continue their efforts in the framework of the Normandy format in preparation for the next summit, devoted to the political and security conditions for the local elections.