OSCE Chair and Slovakia’s Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak and OSCE Secretary General Thomas Greminger welcomed Saturday’s prisoner swap carried out by Russia and Ukraine, as this step would build up trust between the two states, the OSCE said, ONA reports citing TASS.
Lajack pointed out that the exchange "has the potential to build up confidence between the two countries, as well as lead to exchange of all detainees, as provided in Minsk agreements."
"The OSCE and the Slovak Chairmanship stand ready to assist in any way possible," he said.
"I am extremely pleased about today’s exchange of detainees between the Russian Federation and Ukraine. This is a positive development and makes a huge difference in the lives of dozens of people, their families and friends," Lajcak stressed.
He expressed the hope that "this positive step will not have negative impacts on the ongoing investigations of the downing of the Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 in 2014."
OSCE Secretary General Thomas Greminger voiced his appreciation to the sides for their constructive efforts for this landmark event to happen.
"I urge all the sides to take further measures in this spirit, respecting and upholding the ceasefire agreement and implementing fully the Minsk agreements," he said.
On Saturday afternoon, a plane of the special flight unit Rossiya landed at Moscow’s Vnukovo airport, carrying Russian nationals released in a prisoner swap with Ukraine. A Ukrainian aircraft touched down at Kiev airport at approximately the same time. Russia’s Human Rights Commissioner Tatiana Moskalkova said that the prisoner swap was carried out in conformity with the ‘35 for 35’ principle.