Russia, Ukraine agree to exchange 200 prisoners - Erdogan
Turkish leader says Russia's Putin demonstrated willingness to end the war in Ukraine
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in an interview late Monday that Moscow and Kyiv agreed to swap 200 prisoners in one of the largest prisoner exchanges of the seven months of the Ukraine war.
Speaking to PBS television shortly after the talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin during a regional summit in Uzbekistan, Erdogan called those being exchanged “hostages.”
"Two hundred hostages will be exchanged upon agreement between the parties. I think a significant step will be taken forward," the Turkish leader said, adding that Putin demonstrated willingness to end the war.
"We had very extensive discussions and he is actually showing me that he is willing to end this as soon as possible," Erdogan stated, noting that he got an impression that “the way things are going right now are quite problematic."
This statement contradicts the one made by the Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, who told Russian media on Tuesday that “political and diplomatic ways” of ending the war in Ukraine “is not being currently considered” by Moscow.
According to Erdogan, the truce will require Russia's return of captured Ukrainian territory.
"If peace is going to be established in Ukraine, of course returning the land that was invaded will become important," he underlined.
As Ukrainian forces continue to carry out successful counter-offensive recapturing towns in the east of the country from the Russian army, Moscow-appointed administrations of the occupied Kherson region and the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk called on immediately holding referendums on “becoming part of the Russian Federation.”