Ukraine returned 215 people, including 124 officers, from Russian captivity on Sept. 21, as part of a large prisoner swap with the Russian Federation.
During the swap, Ukraine handed over former Ukrainian MP Viktor Medvedchuk, who has been charged with treason, while five commanders who were present were at the Azovstal Steelworks in Mariupol were exchanged for 55 Russian prisoners of war.
The list of those released from Russian captivity includes:
·acting commander of the 36th separate brigade of marines Serhiy Volynskyi (“Volyna”);
·deputy commander of the Azov Regiment Sviatoslav Palamar (“Kalyna”);
·Oleg Khomenko (“Azov”);
·commander of the 12th operational brigade of the National Guard Denys Shleha;
·commander of the 1st marine infantry battalion Yevheniy Bova;
·military medic Kateryna Polishchuk (“Ptashka”);
·pregnant military medics Maryana Mamonova, Yana Shumovetska, Anastasia Chernenka;
·photographer Dmytro Kozatskyi (“Orest”);
·Mykola Kushch and Kostiantyn Nikitenko, whom the Russians sentenced to death.
In his nightly video address on Sept. 22, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said 108 defenders of the Azovstal Steelworks, 188 heroes of Azovstal and Mariupol, eight people wounded during the Russian terrorist attack in a prison colony in occupied Olenivka had been released.
“Today we have 215 pieces of good news. 215!” Zelenskyy said.
According to the president, five citizens of Great Britain, two citizens of the United States, one citizen of Morocco, one citizen of Sweden, and one citizen of Croatia will also return home after being released from the captivity. All of them will return home through the mediation of Saudi Arabia, Zelenskyy added.
NV published photos of the released defenders of Ukraine.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Sept. 19 that Ukraine and Russia had agreed on the exchange of 200 prisoners.
Zelenskyy said on June 6 that more than 2,500 defenders of Mariupol, captured following the fall of the city, were in Russian captivity. According to Ukrainian news website Ukrainska Pravda, 2,449 defenders surrendered and left Azovstal, and the majority of them were being held in a penal colony in the Russian-occupied town of Olenivka.
Ukraine and Russia held an earlier large-scale prisoners swap on June 29, during which 144 Ukrainian defenders were returned home. Among them were 95 defenders of the Azovstal Steelworks in Mariupol, including 43 servicemen of the Azov Regiment.