Russia and Ukraine announce successful prisoner exchange

Russia’s Defence Ministry and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky both expressed their relief following the successful exchange of Russian and Ukrainian prisoners of war on Wednesday.

The Russian Defence Ministry said that 195 of its servicemen had returned home, having been in “mortal danger” while in Ukrainian captivity, and confirmed that it had handed over 195 Ukrainian troops in return. The freed servicemen would be taken to Moscow for treatment and rehabilitation at a Defence Ministry medical institution and provided with medical and psychological assistance, it said.

The Ukrainian president struck a more exuberant tone when he announced the return of some 207 Ukrainians, giving a figure that independent media outlet Ukrainska Pravda said included an additional 12 civilians.

Photo: Andriy Yermak

Photo: Andriy Yermak

Posting photographs of emotional soldiers returning home draped in Ukrainian flags, Zelensky stressed that no Ukrainians still in captivity in Russia, whether they were soldiers or civilians, would be forgotten.

The unannounced prisoner exchange comes just a week after a Russian Il-76 that Moscow said was carrying Ukrainian prisoners of war was downed over the Belgorod region in southern Russia. Russia’s Defence Ministry said that Ukraine had been to blame for the plane’s destruction.

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