Russian soldiers share emotions after prisoner swap with Ukraine (VIDEO)
Russia and Ukraine conducted a major prisoner swap on Thursday, with each side releasing 107 captured servicemen. Soldiers have shared their emotions on camera, with some finally being able to talk to relatives on the phone.
Most of those released hail from the Donetsk (DPR) and Lugansk (LPR) People’s Republics that recently became part of Russia, according to the acting DPR head, Denis Pushilin.
Footage released by the Russian Defense Ministry shows the servicemen shortly after the exchange, with the soldiers elated about finally coming home. Some of them were raising their fists into the air and shouting “Glory to Russia!”
“I’m feeling better already. I feel great now, both mentally and even physically. The whole family is waiting at home: mother, brother, wife, children are waiting. I can’t tell you how happy I am right now,” said one of the men exchanged, identified only as Anatoly.
The servicemen were seen calling their families – apparently leaving some of their relatives in disbelief that their loved ones were rescued.
“I’m very happy, I’m finally in my homeland. My relatives and friends are waiting for me: a brother, three sisters. Natasha, don’t worry, everything is fine, I’m already at home,” said Igor, another serviceman.
While the released soldiers are eager to meet their families, they have to undergo medical treatment first – as well as have their documents restored. Being a prisoner in Ukraine constituted a “mortal danger” for the soldiers, the Russian military noted in a statement, apparently referring to a variety of mistreatment and outright torture Russian servicemen experienced in the hands of Kiev’s forces.
This was the second major prisoner swap between Russia and Ukraine in the span of a week, with the two sides trading 50 POWs each on Saturday.