Russia and Ukraine on Wednesday carried out the largest surprise prisoner swap since Vladimir Putin’s invasion began nearly seven months ago.
What Happened: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in his late-night address, announced the exchange involving around 300 people, which included foreigners and commanders who led Ukraine’s side of defense earlier this year.
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“This is clearly a victory for our state, for our entire society. And most importantly, for 215 families who will be able to see their loved ones in safety,” Zelenskyy said.
The deal was hammered out with the help of Saudi Arabia and Turkey and was under work for quite a long time, according to Zelenskyy. Under the terms of the agreement, Russia released 215 Ukrainians, including foreigners and those who were captured after it occupied Mariupol. In return, Ukraine sent back 55 Russians and pro-Kremlin Ukrainian separatists, including Viktor Medvedchuk, the leader of a banned pro-Russian party.
“Five citizens of Great Britain, two citizens of the United States, one citizen of Morocco, one citizen of Sweden, one citizen of Croatia” are among those released by Russia.
“We remember all our people and try to save every Ukrainian. This is the meaning of Ukraine, our essence, this is what distinguishes us from the enemy,” Zelenskyy said while thanking Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for help.
Meanwhile, Russia detained more than 1,300 people on Wednesday for anti-war protests hours after Putin ordered partial mobilization, The Guardian reported.
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Image and article originally from www.benzinga.com. Read the original article here.