It was the largest exchange since the start of the war. Ukraine announced on Wednesday that it would exchange 215 military personnel with Russia, including security chiefs at the Azovstal steelworks in the city of Mariupol.
Russia, for its part, has freed 55 prisoners, including former MP Viktor Medvetsuk, a close friend of Vladimir Putin, who was charged with treason in Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky said in his daily address.
As part of this “long-prepared operation”, five military commanders, “superheroes”, including the defense chiefs of Azovstal, were transferred to Turkey, the Ukrainian president underlined. He added that negotiations over their transfer had been “long, arduous”.
The president said these people would remain in Turkey in “complete security and comfortable conditions” until “the end of the war” but would be able to visit their families there under the terms of an agreement with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. of the Ukrainian government.
A total of 188 “Heroes of Azovstal and Mariupol” were exchanged, including 108 soldiers from the Azov Regiment. “We will do everything to save everyone in Russian captivity”, and Volodymyr Zelensky promised, according to which the prisoners included pregnant women.