Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel issued the following statement today (27 December) on the successful exchange of several hundred prisoners in eastern Ukraine:
The fact that, after months of negotiations, an extensive exchange of prisoners was achieved today is good news. This exchange is a significant step in the implementation of the Minsk agreements, and one to which we lent our proactive support together with other French partners in the Normandy format. Above all, it is also an important humanitarian gesture before the New Year and the Orthodox Christmas.
This should now be followed up by further steps to implement the Minsk agreements. The successful exchange of prisoners shows that this is possible. It is imperative that the Christmas ceasefire agreed to recently be strictly adhered to.