MOSCOW/KIEV – The exchange of prisoners between Russia and Ukraine officially took place on Septemeber 7. In the afternoon, the airplanes landed practically simultaneously in Moscow and Kiev. This exchange happens at a time when the newly elected Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky promised to “talk to Putin”. Neo-Nazi hardliners in Ukraine oppose the move. Although still not even close to normal relationship, this is a sign of betterment of relations between the two countries. During Poroshenko’s rule, the dialog was virtually nonexistent.
However, this is just one of two parallel processes underway in Donbass this week, the other being continued Ukrainian shelling of Donbass. Both Europe and Moscow still want to end the civil war in southeastern Ukraine through diplomatic means. Merkel and Macron are calling for a Normandy summit as soon as possible, with the participation of Putin and Zelensky. The Kremlin doesn’t oppose it, in principle. Zelensky, as a novice, is extremely eager.