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FILE PHOTO: Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko addresses the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France, October 11, 2017. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann/File Photo

(reuters_tickers)

BERLIN (Reuters) - Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko told German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday that he would work to implement a rapid exchange of prisoners held on both sides of the line of conflict in eastern Ukraine, a spokesman for Merkel said on Friday.

Merkel spoke by telephone with Poroshenko on Friday, a day after she spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the spokesman said.

Merkel and Poroshenko welcomed a decision by the parties to recommit to a ceasefire agreement signed in 2015 ahead of the Christmas holiday, and both agreed it should lead to a longer-term improvement of the security situation in the region.

A Russia-backed separatist insurgency erupted in 2014 and the bloodshed has continued despite the ceasefire. More than 10,000 people have been killed, with casualties reported on a near-daily basis.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal)

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Reuters