Moscow and Kiev reveal details of new prisoner swap
Moscow and Kiev have conducted a prisoner swap in which 50 Russian troops were released, the Russian Defense Ministry announced on Saturday.
The returned personnel will be airlifted to the Russian capital for medical treatment, the ministry said in a statement, adding that “their lives had been in danger during captivity.”
The acting head of Russia’s Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), Denis Pushilin, wrote on his Telegram channel that the exchange was conducted on a ‘50-for-50’ basis.
“We are mostly handing over Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel,” Pushilin said.
“Fifty of our fighters are being freed, including seven people from the Donetsk People’s Republic and two from the Lugansk People’s Republic. We are waiting for guys to return home,” he wrote.
Andrey Yermak, the head of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s office, wrote on Telegram that 52 Ukrainians were released. He said that among them are 12 national guardsmen, 18 navy personnel, eight border guards, nine members of the volunteer Territorial Defense Force, three soldiers, and two civilians.
“We will not stop and continue to implement the president’s task of bringing all Ukrainians home,” Yermak stated.
Prisoner swaps have been occurring despite the absence of a ceasefire and months without meaningful peace talks between Russia and Ukraine.
Last week, Moscow freed 108 Ukrainian female soldiers in exchange for 110 Russians, many of whom were civilian sailors.
Another major swap took place last month, when 55 Russian and Donbass fighters were released, as well as Ukrainian opposition leader Viktor Medvedchuk, who was charged with treason in Kiev. At the same time, more than 215 soldiers were handed over to Ukraine, according to President Vladimir Zelensky. They included more than 100 members of the Azov Battalion, whose ranks include fighters with openly nationalist and neo-Nazi views.