KIEV - Ukraine and Russia Thursday carried out their largest prisoner exchange since the start of the conflict on Feb. 24, the Coordinating Headquarters for the Treatment of Prisoners of War said.
As a result, 215 Ukrainians, including 124 officers, returned home, the agency said. Among those freed are servicemen from the Azov regiment which fought for Mariupol’s Azovstal steel plant, as well as troops from the Ukrainian navy, the State Security Service, the State Customs Service and other agencies.
Besides, two civilians were released under the swap. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also said that ten foreign citi zens were freed from Russian captivity under the exchange. Ukraine and Russia conducted their first prisoner exchange on March 24.
The foreigners released include five Britons, two Americans, a Croatian, a Swedish and a Moroccan who were captured fighting for Ukraine. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Turkey and Saudi Arabia helped to reach the swap agreement. Russia also confirmed its fifty five servicemen freed in prisoner swap with Ukraine.
Reportedly, Saudi Arabia brokered prisoners exchange deal between Russia and Ukraine paving the way for release of three hundred prisoners of war. Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman had been in direct contact with the Kremlin and Ukraine as part of the mediation efforts for the release of the prisoners.