Ukraine, Russia swap prisoners; bodies of British volunteers returned

Russian soldiers return from Ukrainian captivity following a swap

A still image from a video released by Russia’s Defence Ministry shows what it said to be captured Russian service personnel in a bus following the latest exchange of prisoners of war at an unknown location in the course of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, in this image taken from a handout footage released Feb. 4, 2023. (Photo from the Russian Defence Ministry / Handout via Reuters)

Ukraine and Russia traded almost 200 prisoners of war in a swap announced separately by both sides on Saturday, with the bodies of two British volunteers also being sent back to Ukraine.

The Ukrainian president’s chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, said 116 Ukrainians had been returned, while Russian news agencies cited Moscow’s defense ministry saying 63 Russian POWs had been freed.

“We managed to return 116 of our people, defenders of Mariupol, partisans from Kherson, snipers from the Bakhmut (front), and other heroes of ours,” Yermak wrote on Telegram.

Yermak also said the bodies of British volunteer aid workers Andrew Bagshaw and Chris Parry had been sent back to Ukraine.

Bagshaw and Parry were killed during an attempted humanitarian evacuation in eastern Ukraine in January, Parry’s family has previously said.

Russia’s Defence Ministry said the released Russian servicemen included “sensitive category” persons, whose exchange was made possible through the mediation of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), according to agencies.


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