Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS

MOSCOW/KIEV (Reuters) - Russia and Ukraine swapped dozens of prisoners on Saturday in a carefully-negotiated rapprochement that brought Western praise and could thaw a freeze in relations since Moscow's annexation of the Crimea region in 2014.

While the exchange of 35 prisoners on each side could help rebuild confidence between Moscow and Kiev and allow them to start talking seriously over other issues including a conflict in east Ukraine, full normalization is a long way off.

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(Reuters/Murad Sezer)

During a U.S. and Ukrainian-led multinational maritime exercise, a Russian destroyer created a "dangerous situation" by sailing into an area restricted for live-fire drills, the Ukrainian Navy said in an statement.

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(Reuters/Maxim Zmeyev)

NIEUWEGEIN, Netherlands (Reuters) - Three Russians and a Ukrainian will face murder charges for the 2014 downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine which killed 298 people, in a trial to start in the Netherlands next March, an investigation team said on Wednesday.

The suspects are likely to be tried in absentia, however, as the Netherlands has said Russia has not cooperated with the investigation and is not expected to hand anyone over.

"These suspects are seen to have played an important role in the death of 298 innocent civilians", said Dutch Chief Prosecutor Fred Westerbeke.

"Although they did not push the button themselves, we suspect them of close cooperation to get the (missile launcher) where it was, with the aim to shoot down an airplane."

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Head of the Security Service of Ukraine Vasyl Hrytsak (SBU) speaks during a news conference, dedicated to the alleged detention of members of a sabotage-reconnaissance group, who according to SBU were sent by Russian intelligence agencies, in Kiev, Ukraine April 17, 2019. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

KIEV (Reuters) - Ukraine's security service SBU said on Wednesday it had captured a Russian military intelligence hit squad responsible for the attempted murder of a Ukrainian military spy in the run-up to a presidential election on Sunday.

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The U.S. military conducted an "extraordinary flight" over Ukraine Thursday to "reaffirm U.S. commitment to Ukraine and other partner nations" amid escalating tensions triggered by "provocative and threatening" Russian behavior, the Department of Defense said in a statement.

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The Russian confrontation with Ukrainian forces is nothing to sneeze at. As this article points out, the two largest standing armies in Europe are now confronting each other.

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