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Russia and Ukraine exchange nearly 300 prisoners

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To: 06/29/2022 9:55 p.m.

This is the largest exchange of prisoners since the start of the war: Russia and Ukraine have freed nearly 300 prisoners. Among them are defenders of the besieged Azovstal factory.

According to their own statements, the Ukrainian army and the Russian side exchanged a total of almost 300 prisoners. The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense in Kyiv reported 144 Ukrainian soldiers free again. This is the largest exchange of prisoners since the start of the war more than four months ago.

Separatist leader Denis Puschilin, meanwhile, spoke of 144 pro-Russian and Russian fighters who had been released from Ukrainian captivity.

95 defenders of the Azovstal factory

According to reports from Kyiv, among the freed Ukrainian soldiers are 95 fighters who until a few weeks ago defended the hard-fought Azovstal steelworks in the port city of Mariupol, which has since been conquered by the Russians. 43 others of them would belong to the Azov regiment.

Thousands of Ukrainian fighters had defended the steel mills against the Russian army for weeks and had entrenched themselves in the underground tunnels of the huge factory. The last fighters finally surrendered in mid-April and hundreds were taken prisoner. A pro-Russian separatist official said in late May that members of the Azov regiment could face the death penalty if captured. The Kyiv government had repeatedly stated that it wanted to exchange Azov fighters for Russian prisoners of war. Moscow, on the other hand, said Ukrainian fighters should be brought to justice.

Most of the soldiers who were released were seriously injured by gunfire or shrapnel, others had burns and broken bones, the defense ministry said in Kyiv. They would now be taken care of medically and psychologically.

Since the start of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine on February 24, the two sides have exchanged prisoners several times. The bodies of fallen soldiers were also exchanged in mid-June. In the aftermath, Ukraine received the remains of 64 militants killed defending the steelworks.

Ukraine’s largest POW exchange to date

Peter Hild, WDR, 06/30/2022 06:22

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Source www.tagesschau.de

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