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  14 Apr 2022, 19:04

Kyiv says 30 people returned to Ukraine in Russia prisoner swap

KYIV, Ukraine, April 14, 2022 (BSS/AFP) - Ukraine said Thursday that 30
prisoners of war were being returned to the country as part of the most
recent exchange of captives with Russia, following an order from President
Volodymyr Zelensky.

"Five officers and 17 servicemen were exchanged. Also eight civilians,
including one woman, were released. In total, 30 of our citizens are going
home today," Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said in a statement on
social media.

Earlier, the defence ministry announced that two military pilots captured by
Moscow's forces last month and held in Russia had been released, without
giving details of their return.

Its statement identified the men as Ivan Pepelyashko and Oleksiy Chyzh and
said they had been captured in early March in a village in Ukraine's northern
Chernigiv region.

It was not immediately clear whether the pilots were part of the exchange
announced by Vereshchuk.

The statement said the pilots were held in several locations before being
brought to the Kursk region of southern Russia, where they were held with
eight other Ukrainian military personnel.

The status of the other eight captives was not immediately clear.

The statement cited Chyzh as saying they were subjected to hostile
interrogations and denied medical treatment while in captivity.

"We were forced to record propaganda videos. If we refused, they threatened
to stop bandaging our comrades' wounds," the statement quoted him as saying.

The defence ministry statement said the men met with minister Kirill Budanov
on their return to Ukraine.

Vereshchuk said Thursday announcing the exchange that Ukraine and Russia have
conducted four prisoner swaps since Moscow's forces began their invasion of
their pro-democratic neighbour in late February.

Zelensky this week offered to swap pro-Kremlin tycoon Viktor Medvedchuk, who
was arrested by Kyiv after escaping house arrest, for Ukrainians captured by
Russia.

 

 

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