war in Ukraine
Ukraine and Russia exchange prisoners
Hundreds of Ukrainians are allowed to return home - including the defenders of the Azovstal steel plant. In return, Ukraine releases dozens of Russian soldiers.
After almost seven months of war, the Ukraine and Russia announces a major prisoner swap. 205 Ukrainians returned from Russian captivity, according to the head of the Ukrainian Presidential Office, Andriy Yermak. The Moscow-controlled separatists in eastern Ukraine released ten foreigners who were flown to Riyadh after mediation by Saudi Arabia.
Ukraine let Yermak according to their part, freed 55 Russian soldiers who had been captured in the offensive in the Kharkiv region in early September. Accordingly, the arrested pro-Russian politician Viktor Medvedchuk, a confidante of President Vladimir Putin, was also allowed to leave the country.
According to Yermak, the Ukrainian returnees included the commanders of the defense of Mariupol, who had been entrenched in the Azovstal steel works and resisted the Russian conquerors until mid-May. "Our heroes are free," he wrote on Telegram.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the exchange was mediated by Turkey, the state news agency Anadolu reported on Wednesday evening. Erdogan called the agreement an "important step" towards ending the war in Ukraine.