Ukraine and Russia swapped almost 300 prisoners of war in a breakthrough exchange on Wednesday, September 21, Ukrainian officials said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said a total of 215 Ukrainian POWs had been released in the exchange, 188 of which had been captured in the siege of Mariupol. He said a deal had been struck with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for five released commanders, including two Azov Regiment commanders, to live out the remainder of the war in Turkey under the personal protection of Erdogan.
The Turkish president did not immediately comment on the deal.
In return, Zelensky said Ukraine released 55 POWs that either “fought against Ukraine” or “betrayed Ukraine”, as well as Viktor Medvedchuk, a pro-Russia Ukrainian politician who had been arrested for treason.
Footage released by the Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense shows Ukrainian POWs being received at an unknown location.
Ten international POWs were also released by Moscow on Wednesday in a Saudi-brokered deal. Credit: Defense of Ukraine via Storyful