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8 Feb, 2024 18:08

Russia and Ukraine conduct major prisoner exchange

A total of 200 captives were traded in the latest swap
Russia and Ukraine conduct major prisoner exchange

A total of 100 Russian prisoners who were “in mortal danger” in Ukrainian captivity have been exchanged for the same number of Ukrainians, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Thursday. The swap was facilitated by mediation from the United Arab Emirates.

The Russian servicemen will be transported by plane to Moscow, where they will receive all necessary medical and mental healthcare, the ministry added.

A swap scheduled for January 24 fell through when Ukrainian forces shot down an Il-76 transport plane over Belgorod Region, killing 65 Ukrainian POWs on board. Moscow was quick to state that this would not interfere with future exchanges, however.

Mere days later, on January 31, Russia and Ukraine traded almost 400 captives in what was described as the largest exchange since the start of the conflict in 2022. The Russian Defense Ministry said 195 of its servicemen had returned home, while the Ukrainian government claimed 207 of its nationals came back, without specifying where the additional 12 might have come from.

While neither side has disclosed the exact number of prisoners in custody, Moscow reportedly holds far more POWs than Kiev.