October 6, 2022

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The largest prisoner exchange between Russia and Ukraine since the beginning of the war

On Wednesday there was a prisoner exchange between Russia and Ukraine, the largest since the war: about 300 people participated in it including Ukrainians, Russians and Ten foreign fighters who joined the Ukrainian army.

The timing of this exchange was so surprising, that the military efforts of the two armies seem to be intensifying instead at this point in the war: after the last war. important victories obtained from Ukraine in the northeast of the country, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Wednesday “Partial packing” In Russia.

Among the prisoners exchanged were 215 Ukrainians, most of whom were soldiers who fought for them in the first months of the war. supported Mariupol, a port city in the south of the country was besieged by the Russians for a long time. In return, Ukraine released 55 Russians and pro-Russian Ukrainians: among them too Victor MedvedchukA Ukrainian politician who heads a pro-Russian party is considered one of Putin’s greatest allies in Ukraine. Had he not been released, he would have faced charges of treason.

Some Ukrainian soldiers have been released from Russia (Press Office of the Ukrainian Security Service via Associated Press)

For now, Russia has not commented on the prisoner exchange, while Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said it was a “clear victory” for his country and thanked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who brokered long negotiations to reach an agreement.

Among the liberated Ukrainians, there are five commanders who will remain in Turkey until the end of the war: Zelensky said it was particularly difficult to secure their release as well. One of them, Lieutenant Colonel Denis Prokopenko,
Commander of the controversial Azov Battalion, a militia that has integrated into the Ukrainian army and which has outright neo-Nazi outposts.

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Ten foreign fighters who had joined the Ukrainian army in recent months also took part in the prisoner exchange: Saudi Arabia contributed to these negotiations, with ten forced to arrive on Wednesday evening by plane. There are five British, American, Croatian, Moroccan and Swedish nationals.