Ukraine has returned 215 people, including 124 officers, from Russian captivity, Presidential chief-of-staff Andriy Yermak announced overnight on Sept. 22.
During an online call with the released defenders, Yermak also told President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that those released included 108 defenders from the Azovstal Steelworks and other formations of the National Guard of Ukraine, as well as servicemen of the Ground and Naval Forces, the territorial defense of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the State Border Guard Service, the National Police, employees of the SBU security service, the State Special Transport Service, and the State Customs Service.
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 medic Maryana Mamonova;
·10 foreign defenders of Ukraine from the United States, the United Kingdom, Croatia, Sweden, and other countries.
According to Yermak, almost all of the released are already on the territory of Ukraine, except for five Azov commanders, who, according to the agreements reached earlier with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, will stay in Turkey under his personal guarantees of protection.
During the prisoner swap, Ukraine handed over former Ukrainian MP Viktor Medvedchuk, who has been charged with treason. Five Azovstal commanders were exchanged for 55 Russian prisoners of war.
The Coordination Headquarters for the Treatment of Prisoners of War has published a full list of released defenders.
Yermak stated the swap took place in several stages and in different locations.
Interior Minister Denys Monastyrskyi told Zelenskyy that it was the most difficult prisoner swap he had ever seen.
Zelenskyy in turn said that, according to the information available to him, many of the prisoners had been sentenced to death, so the release saved their lives.