Ukraine and Turkey defense chiefs speak amid prisoner-swap reports – Al-Monitor

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« The Turkish and Ukrainian defense chiefs have discussed the situation in Ukraine amid ongoing humanitarian talks between Russian and Ukrainian representatives  in Turkey » reports Al-Monitor.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar spoke on Wednesday with his Ukrainian counterpart Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov and stressed the need for an immediate cease-fire, according to the official Turkish readout. 

The phone call follows Turkey hosting the Ukrainian and Russian human rights commissioners to discuss series of humanitarian issues including a potential prisoner swap and setting up a humanitarian corridor as part of their ongoing Turkey-mediated talks in Ankara on Wednesday. 

Russian human rights commissioner Tatiana Moskalkova said on her Telegram account that the two sides agreed on exchanging about 40 prisoners during the talks, Reuters reported. Neither Ankara nor Kyiv have confirmed. 

Ukrainian human rights commissioner Dmytro Lubinets said the talks focused on release of Ukrainian civilian captives, “particularly in Crimea.”

The talks will continue their talks hosted by Turkey’s chief commissioner Seref Malkoc, who described the progress in the talks as “very significant.”

« We would like to set up a humanitarian corridor, » Malkoc told Turkish journalists after Wednesday’s talks.

The Russian and Ukrainian representatives are holding talks on the sidelines of a two-day international human rights conference. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US Ambassador to Ankara Jeff Flake also attended the conference on Wednesday. 

Al-Monitor, January 11, 2023

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