Russia and Ukraine exchange a total of 150 prisoners of war in UAE-brokered deal — Novaya Gazeta Europe
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Russia and Ukraine exchange a total of 150 prisoners of war in UAE-brokered deal

Russia and Ukraine have each exchanged 75 prisoners of war in a deal mediated by the United Arab Emirates, the Russian Defence Ministry announced on Friday.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky confirmed the exchange in a post on Telegram. “Another 75 of our people have returned to Ukraine. Soldiers of the AFU, the National Guard, border guards, and four civilians — all of them are already back in their homeland,” Zelensky wrote.

The Office of the President of Ukraine added that among those exchanged were 19 people who were captured from Snake Island, as well as 10 soldiers who were captured by Russian forces following the siege of Mariupol.

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Photo: Volodymyr Zelensky’s Telegram channel

The Russian Defence Ministry said that the 75 returning Russian servicemen would be transported home where they would be provided with any necessary medical and psychological treatment.

The exchange comes despite Russian Human Rights Commissioner Tatyana Moskalkova saying on Wednesday that the prisoner exchange process between Russia and Ukraine had been “put on hold” due to Ukraine’s “far-fetched demands”.

The last prisoner exchange between Russia and Ukraine took place in February, during which the two countries each swapped 100 prisoners of war.

Snake Island, which overlooks sea lanes to Odesa, Ukraine’s main Black Sea port, became synonymous with Ukrainian resistance to the Russian invasion after Ukrainian guards stationed there refused to surrender the territory to an approaching Russian warship, radioing the now-infamous phrase “Russian warship, go fuck yourself”. Russian forces were forced to withdraw from the island in June 2022.

The siege of Mariupol lasted from February to May 2022 and ended with Russian troops capturing the city, as Ukrainian defenders trapped inside the Azovstal steel works surrendered after holding out for weeks.

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