Putin, Macron hail Russia-Ukraine prisoner exchange

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron hailed this weekend's exchange of prisoners between Moscow and Kiev in a telephone call on Sunday, their offices said.

The call came ahead of a visit by the French foreign and defense ministers to Moscow on Monday.  Macron met with Putin in France last month and has called for a renewed push to resolve the five-year conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

The two leaders shared "their positive appreciation for the release and transfer" of 35 prisoners from each side on Saturday, the Kremlin said.

"The two presidents confirmed that the current momentum will allow for the holding, in the next few weeks, of a summit under the Normandy format in Paris," the French presidency said.

Macron announced the summit, which would involve the leaders of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine, after his meeting with Putin but no date has been set.

The conflict between government troops and pro-independence rebels in eastern Ukraine has been underway since April 2014, claiming some 10,000 lives.

The Normandy contact group, or the Normandy Four, has then existed since June 2014 to resolve the conflict. The last summit in the Normandy format was held in 2016 in Berlin.

(With input from agencies)