In the long-running standoff between Russia and Ukraine, some cautious optimism is emerging. On Wednesday, the two countries reached the final stage of negotiations for a prisoner exchange. On Aug. 7 Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy spoke on the telephone. Following the call, Zelenskiy announced a meeting among representatives of the foreign ministries of the Normandy format countries (France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine), planned for the end of the month in France. French President Emmanuel Macron, speaking at a press conference during Putin's visit to France this week, confirmed that the four countries' leaders are indeed considering such a meeting. In a post to the French president's social media channels, Macron also said that relations between Russia and the European Union are on a good trajectory – something only possible for the EU with a settlement to the conflict in eastern Ukraine.