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Russians, Ukrainians Met In UAE To Discuss Prisoner Swap, Ammonia, Sources Say

PARIS, France - Representatives from Russia and Ukraine met in the United Arab Emirates last week to discuss the possibility of a prisoner-of-war swap that would be linked to a resumption of Russian ammonia exports, which go to Asia and Africa, via a Ukrainian pipeline, three sources with knowledge of the meeting said.

The sources said the talks were being mediated by the Gulf Arab state and did not include the United Nations despite the U.N.'s central role in negotiating the ongoing initiative to export agricultural products from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports. Ammonia is used to make fertilizer.

However, the talks aim to remove remaining obstacles in the initiative extended last week and ease global food shortages by unblocking Ukrainian and Russian exports, they added.

The sources asked not to be named in order to freely discuss sensitive matters.

The Russian and Ukrainian representatives traveled to the UAE and Abu Dhabi on Nov.17 where they discussed allowing Russia to resume ammonia exports in exchange for a prisoner swap that would release a large number of Ukrainian and Russian prisoners, the sources said.

Reuters could not immediately establish what progress was made at the talks.

Putin said on Wednesday that Russian officials would work to unblock Russian fertilizers stuck in European ports and to resume ammonia exports.

The UAE's foreign ministry did not respond to Reuters' request for comment.

Lana Nusseibeh, UAE's Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said Abu Dhabi remains firmly committed to helping keep channels of communication open, encourage dialogue, and support diplomacy to end the war in Ukraine.

''In times of conflict, our collective responsibility is to leave no stone unturned towards identifying and pursuing paths that bring about a peaceful and swift resolution of crises'', Nusseibeh said in a statement carried by state news agency WAM.

Russian and Ukraine's defence and foreign ministries did not respond to Reuters' requests for comment.

Asked if the United Nations were involved in the talks, a spokesperson for the organisation declined to comment.



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