OREANDA-NEWSUkrainian President Vladimir Zelensky said that even a small exchange of prisoners could demonstrate the willingness of the other side to begin the process of de-escalation in eastern Ukraine. This statement was made by the Ukrainian leader in Berlin at a meeting with the Chairman of the Bundestag, Wolfgang Schäuble, the press service of the Ukrainian president reports.

The report said that the meeting raised issues of "ending the war and the return of hostages". The President of Ukraine noted that “the exchange of people at least 10 by 10 or 15 by 15 could show the desire of the other side to begin the process of de-escalation”, the press service quoted him as saying. Zelensky also noted that he was starting a project for the development of Donbass, and said that Kiev wouldn't have been prevented by this. “And here Europe can help us. We need to rebuild schools, kindergartens, roads that aren't there”, said the Ukrainian leader.

On the eve of Zelensky, following a meeting with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron in Paris, he said that he was ready to discuss the cease-fire in the Donbas as part of the Minsk agreements. He also reported on the readiness to seek the release of captured and Ukrainian citizens in Russia, including detained sailors, noting that he and the people can't wait for another five years. “We want to end the war. But in order to end the war, two countries should want this. Both Russia and Ukraine”, said Zelensky. 

The settlement of the situation in the Donbass is a specially created trilateral contact group, which includes representatives of Ukraine, Russia and the OSCE. The problem of Donbass is periodically discussed in the so-called Norman format, which includes Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany. The Norman Four meets both at the level of foreign ministers and at the highest level. With the participation of Zelensky, the Norman negotiations have never been held.