More than 100 Ukrainian POWs released in prisoner swap with Russia
More than 100 Ukrainian prisoners of were freed in a prisoner swap with Russia, officials from both countries said Saturday.
Ukrainian presidential aide Andriy Yermak said that 116 prisoners — including troops from Mariupol, guerrilla fighters in the Kherson region, and snipers captured during the battle for Bakhmut — were freed in the trade, in which Russian defense officials said they received 63 Russian troops.
The Ukraine Ministry of Defense said that the freed troops were made up of 87 service men in the Ukrainian Army, eight soldiers from the Territorial Defense Forces, six police officers, five border guards, two sailors and a representative of the State Emergency Service.
The swap also included the bodies of two British volunteers — Chris Parry, 28, and Andrew Bagshaw, 47 — whose families said were killed in eastern Ukraine in January after their car was hit by an artillery shell while trying to help an elderly woman, BBC reported.
There has been no word on when Parry and Bagshaw’s bodies will be given to the British embassy to be taken home.
Russian defense officials announced that dozens of troops had returned home following the trade, which included “special category” prisoners whose release had to be mediated by the United Arab Emirates, although the announcement did not include further details about the captives.
“The group of liberated Russian servicemen includes people of sensitive category, whose exchange has become possible thanks to the UAE’s mediation efforts,” the Russian Ministry of Defense said.
Saturday’s prisoner swap was at least the third time Russia and Ukraine have traded captives since the invasion last year. At least 108 Ukranian captives were released in October, after 144 Ukranian soldiers were freed in June.