Russia and Ukraine have proceeded with a major prisoner exchange, involving the return of hundreds of soldiers and civilians to their respective countries. This exchange comes in the wake of a tragic incident where Moscow accused Kyiv of shooting down a Russian military transport plane in the Belgorod region, purportedly carrying Ukrainian prisoners of war destined for a similar exchange.
The Defense Ministry of Russia announced the release of 195 Russian soldiers, while Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy reported that 207 individuals, including both soldiers and civilians, were returned to Ukraine. The exchange marks a significant moment in the conflict’s near two-year history, being the 50th such event. Over 3,000 Ukrainians and at least 1,200 Russians have reportedly been repatriated through these exchanges since the war began.
Good news. The one we have been waiting for. Today, we were able to free 207 more Ukrainians from Russian captivity. 180 privates and sergeants. 27 officers.
Almost half of them are Mariupol defenders. Armed Forces, National Guard, Border Guard, and National Police — 207… pic.twitter.com/mf0OPDljsU
— Volodymyr Zelenskyy / Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) January 31, 2024