Russia and Ukraine swap remains of fallen soldiers
Russia and Ukraine announced on Tuesday that they have carried out a swap of the remains of dozens of fallen soldiers.
“We have conducted a swap of bodies, 45 for 45,” Vladimir Rogov, a Russia-appointed regional official in Ukraine’s southern Zaporozhye region, told Russian news agency RIA Novosti.
Rogov said that the authorities in Kiev “had not granted approval for the swap for a long time.”
Ukraine’s military intelligence agency the GUR said on Tuesday that the bodies of 45 Ukrainian fighters have been returned.
The sides conducted similar swaps in the past. In June, Kiev said that Russia handed over the remains of 56 soldiers.
Prisoner swaps took place as well, including a large exchange late last month, when 144 of their respective inmates were transferred from each side.
Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.”
In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely.