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Ukraine and Russia exchange more than 100 prisoners of war, officials say.

Oct 30, 2022

Ukrainian and Russian officials said they exchanged more prisoners on Saturday, freeing more than 100 people in the latest indication that the countries were still able to negotiate the release of their citizens despite intense fighting on the battlefield.


Andriy Yermak, the leader of the Ukrainian president’s office, said that 52 Ukrainians had been released. In a video Mr. Yermak posted on Twitter, the released Ukrainians were seen walking down an unidentified road, many waving and some smiling at the camera. At the back of the convoy, two men held up a third as they walked.

The release was heralded by President Volodymyr Zelensky, who said in his nightly address on Saturday that more than 1,000 people had been released from Russian captivity since March.

“We remember all those held captive in Russia and in the occupied territory, and will do everything to return each and every one,” he said.

The prisoners released Saturday included 18 navy personnel, 12 national guard soldiers, eight policemen and two civilians, Mr. Yermak said.

Among the soldiers, Mr. Yermak said, were two members of the Azov Battalion, whose weekslong defense of the Azovstal steel plant in the southern port city of Mariupol emerged as a powerful symbol of resistance mounted by Ukraine.

The Russian Ministry of Defense said in a statement on Saturday that 50 Russian servicemen had been released by Ukraine as part of the exchange. It said the prisoners were being taken to Moscow for “treatment and rehabilitation.”

The treatment of prisoners of war has been a concern since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February. Earlier this month, United Nations investigators in Ukraine said they were receiving accounts of Russian forces torturing civilian and military prisoners — sometimes to the point of death.

In September, Ukrainian officials said Ukrainian prisoners of war in Russia were detained under abusive and extreme conditions, subjected to beatings and denied food.

Author - Serhii Kolomiets, 30/10/2022

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