Ukraine and Russia exchange POWs
Defenders of Ukraine released from captivity on February 16 (Photo:Andriy Yermak / Telegram)
Ukraine has returned 101 of its people in the latest POW exchange with Russia, the head of the President's Office, Andrii Yermak, said in a Telegram post on Feb. 16.
Among the released are the National Guardsmen, border guards, and military personnel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. 94 of them participated in the defense of Mariupol, including 63 who defended the Azovstal facility. Many soldiers were wounded.
In his evening address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked everyone who worked on the exchange.
“There is another good news – we are returning Ukrainians home from Russian captivity,” said the President.
“Another 101 people (return) today. Most of them are the defenders of Mariupol, privates and sergeants. Navy, border guards, National Guard, ground forces, the Territorial Defense. One civilian (among them) is the first deputy mayor of Enerhodar (Zaporizhzhia Oblast).”
“Relatives will soon be able to hug their defenders, for whom they prayed and waited more than anything in the world,” Ukrainian ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets wrote in another Telegram post.
“Each of our returned citizens will receive necessary medical care, undergo rehabilitation, and be able to restore documents and bank cards.”
According to Lubinets, since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion, 1,863 people have been released from captivity
The Coordinating Headquarters for the Treatment of Prisoners of War clarified that the released civilian is the first deputy mayor of Enerhodar, Ivan Samoydyuk, who refused to cooperate with the invaders and was abducted on March 19, 2022.
Among the liberated, there are Ukrainian soldiers from the Kherson and Kyiv regions, as well as the fighters who defended Bucha, Kherson, and Lyman.
On Feb. 4, Ukraine and Russia held another prisoner exchange. 116 Ukrainians returned home from Russian captivity, including the defenders of Mariupol, Kherson partisans and snipers from the Bakhmut axis. In addition, it was possible to return the bodies of two dead foreign volunteers, as well as the body of a dead volunteer soldier.
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