Russia swaps prisoners with Ukraine
A total of 20 Russian servicemen have been returned from Kiev-controlled territory, Russia’s Defense Ministry said in a statement on Thursday.
This was “a result of the negotiation process on the exchange,” the military explained.
“All the released servicemen are being provided with the necessary psychological and medical assistance,” the ministry said, adding that they would shortly be delivered to “medical institutions for treatment and rehabilitation.”
Meanwhile, Kiev confirmed the latest prisoner swap, saying its soldiers had been freed on Thursday.
“Our people are returning home... 20 people were released from captivity,” the Ukrainian president’s chief of staff, Andrey Yermak, wrote on his Telegram channel. Among them, “14 servicemen of the Armed Forces, [four] territorial defense fighters, one National Guard officer and one naval serviceman,” he added.
In a previous exchange, which occurred in late September, 55 Russian and Donbass soldiers were freed. The then head of Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), Denis Pushilin, said Kiev released Ukrainian opposition leader Viktor Medvedchuk as part of the swap. The Ukrainian authorities charged Medvedchuk with treason last year and banned his party, Opposition Platform – For Life, after Moscow launched its military operation in Ukraine.
According to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, 215 Ukrainian soldiers were returned to their home country in the swap. They included more than 100 members of the Azov Battalion, within the ranks of which fighters openly embrace nationalist and neo-Nazi views.