Hundreds of prisoners of war exchanged

The war in Ukraine

Published 4 January 2024
- By Editorial Staff
Ukrainian POWs receive a tearful welcome.

The Russian Defense Ministry announced the release of 248 of its soldiers from Ukrainian captivity on Wednesday. At the same time, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said 230 Ukrainian soldiers and civilians had been freed in a prisoner swap.

The exchange of prisoners was the result of a “complex negotiation process” facilitated by the “humanitarian mediation” of the United Arab Emirates, according to the Russian military.

The released Russian prisoners are now receiving medical and psychological care and will be flown home by the Russian Air Force for treatment and rehabilitation in military medical facilities, according to Russian state media RT.

Shortly after the Russian announcement, President Volodymyr Zelenesky wrote on social media that 213 Ukrainian servicemen, 11 officers and 6 civilians had been released.

I am grateful to everyone who achieved this result. We remember each and every one of our people. And we must return all of them, he wrote on X.

Neither side mentioned the other’s prisoners in their statements.

Tuesday’s prisoner exchange was reportedly the largest in the conflict to date. The last public prisoner exchange took place in early August 2023 and involved 22 soldiers from each side.

In an interview with AP in early December, Zelenskyi said that small, localized exchanges were continuing and claimed that Kiev had managed to recover a total of about 100 people in this way.

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