30 Ukrainians released in prisoner exchange with Russia

Kyiv announced that 30 Ukrainians were released, Thursday, in a new prisoner exchange with Russia, five days after the release of 12 Ukrainian soldiers and 14 civilians.

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By order of President Volodymyr Zelensky, today a fourth exchange of prisoners took place. Five officers and 17 soldiers were exchanged, as well as eight civilians, including a woman,” Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vereshchuk wrote on a telegram.

“A total of 30 of our citizens are going home today,” she said.

Ms Verichuk did not specify how many Russians were exchanged for these Ukrainians.

Several exchanges of soldiers and civilians between Ukrainians and Russians have already taken place since the start of the invasion on February 24, without official confirmation each time by the two sides.

On April 9, the Ukrainian presidency said it had exchanged 12 soldiers and 14 civilians for Russians, again without specifying the number of the latter.

Earlier today, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, for its part, announced the release of two Ukrainian pilots who had been captured by the Russian army and have since been detained in Russia, without specifying the terms of their release.

And the ministry announced on Telegram that these two men, Ivan Biblichko and Aleksic Czeg, are “fine and receive all necessary medical care.”

He said in a statement that the pilots “were arrested on March 8 near the village of Novaya Basan”, 80 km east of Kyiv.

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Their place of detention has changed several times. The ministry added that they were finally transferred to a detention center in the city of Kursk, 100 kilometers from the Russian-Ukrainian border, northeast of Sumy. They were in a cell with eight other Ukrainian officers.

According to one of the pilots mentioned in the press release, the Russian military “forced them to record propaganda videos.” “If we refused, the Russians threatened to stop providing care to comrades,” he said.

And on Tuesday evening, President Zelensky offered to “exchange” Ukrainian businessman Viktor Medvedchuk, a confidant of recently arrested Russian President Vladimir Putin, for the Ukrainians detained in Russia. Moscow rejected a proposal the next day.

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