MOSCOW - Ukraine has handed over a group of captured Russian paratroops and Russia has returned 63 Ukrainian soldiers who crossed into its territory last week, Russian news agencies quoted a paratroop commander as saying.

RIA news agency quoted Russian Major-General Alexei Ragozin as saying the paratroops had been handed back after "very difficult" negotiations.

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Ukraine said last week it had captured 10 paratroops and presented them to the press as evidence that the Russian military is fighting alongside pro-Moscow separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine. Russia said the men had crossed an unmarked section of the border by accident.