Meeting Between Russia and Ukraine To Discuss Prisoner Exchange: Report

Representatives from Russia and Ukraine met in the United Arab Emirates last week to discuss the possibility of a prisoner-of-war exchange . The talks aim to eliminate remaining obstacles to the initiative launched last week .

Riyadh: Representatives from Russia and Ukraine met in the United Arab Emirates last week to discuss the possibility of a prisoner-of-war exchange that would be tied to the resumption of Russian ammonia exports, which go to Asia and Africa via a Ukrainian pipeline, according to three sources familiar with the meeting.However, the talks aim to eliminate remaining obstacles to the initiative launched last week and alleviate global food shortages by unblocking Ukrainian and Russian exports, according to the sources.The talks took place in Abu Dhabi on November17, according to the Ukrainian ambassador to Turkey, Vasyl Bodnar, who said that breaking the talks would result in the release of a significant number of Ukrainian and Russian prisoners of war.Bodnar said he was unaware if a meeting was being held in the UAE.

After Russia sent its troops into Ukraine on February 24, it was not part of the United Nations-backed grains corridor agreement that restored commercial shipping from Ukraine.Last week, Russia and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy announced that they were optimistic that the two countries would reach an agreement on the terms for the export of Russian ammonia via the pipeline, including a prisoner exchange and the reopening of Mykolaiv port in the Black Sea.Since March, Russian President Volodymr Zelenskiy announced that Russia had freed a total of 1,031 prisoners.Following the abandonment of ceasefire negotiations with Russia in the first few weeks following Russia's invasion on February 24, UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan visited Moscow last month, where he discussed with Putin about the possibility of Abu Dhabi mediating for an ammonia deal, according to two of the sources.

Since July, Moscow has stated that its shipments of grain and fertilisers, although not specifically targeted by sanctions, are being hindered because sanctions make it possible for exporters to process payments or purchase vessels and insurance.

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