The Ukrainian authorities conducted another and, to date the most successful exchange of prisoners and returned 215 people, including 124 officers, from Russian captivity, Head of the President’s Office Andriy Yermak reported this to President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky during an online call with the released defenders.
As the press service of the President’s Office reports, 108 warriors of the “Azov” regiment and other formations of the National Guard of Ukraine, as well as servicemen of the Ground and Naval Forces, the territorial defence of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the State Border Guard Service, the National Police, employees of the Security Service, the State Special Transport Service, and the State Customs Service were released.
“Among those released are the commander of “Azov,” Hero of Ukraine Denys Prokopenko; Serhiy Volynsky, acting commander of the 36th separate brigade of marines; Svyatoslav Palamar, Oleg Khomenko, and Denys Shleha from the National Guard of Ukraine; and Hero of Ukraine Yevheniy Bova, commander of the 1st separate marine battalion. Kateryna Polishchuk also returns,” Yermak reported.
In addition, defenders Maryana Mamonova, Yana Shumovetska, and Anastasiya Chernenka, who were captured while pregnant, were also released.
“Today, we directly exchanged 200 citizens of Ukraine for Mr. Medvedchuk. I would like to point out that Medvedchuk is not just Putin’s close friend but a well-documented state traitor. His guilt is fully recorded in the relevant materials,” said Vasyl Maliuk, Acting Head of the Security Service of Ukraine.
In addition, five more citizens were released in exchange for 55 Russian prisoners.
Almost all of the released are already on the territory of Ukraine, except for the five Azov commanders, who, according to the agreements reached earlier with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, are in Turkey under his personal guarantees of protection.
Moreover, at the request of international partners, Ukraine achieved the release of 10 foreigners – defenders of Ukraine, and citizens of five partner states. The released foreign defenders were sent to Saudi Arabia on 21 September.
Zelensky noted that the preparation for this release operation was long and hard. He expressed gratitude to the President of Turkey, as well as to all those who dealt with this issue from the Ukrainian side.
“I believe that this is truly a great victory for our state, for our entire society, and most importantly, for the families of our defenders, who will be able to see their loved ones in safety,” the Head of State said.
He stressed that many of the prisoners were sentenced to death, so the release saved their lives.
The President also emphasised that Ukraine remembers all its citizens and will try to save every Ukrainian.
At the same time, Prosecutor General of Ukraine Andriy Kostin said that Ukraine and its allies are working on an “all for all” prisoner exchange with Russia. He added that the successes of the Armed Forces in the counteroffensive increase the “exchange fund” every day.