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Dozens of captives released in latest Ukraine-Russia prisoner swap

Andriy Yermak (The Presidential Office of Ukraine/Released)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Ukraine and Russia have carried out another prisoner exchange, the Ukrainian president’s chief of staff announced on October 29, saying the action resulted in the release of 52 Ukrainian citizens.

Andriy Yermak announced the exchange on Telegram. He said the Ukrainians involved in the exchange included “officers, medics, sergeants, and soldiers.”

Among the group returning home to Ukraine are the head of the surgical department of the Mariupol military hospital, who was in the Azovstal steelworks, and a young military surgeon of a Ukrainian military mobile hospital, Yermak said.

“Defenders of Azovstal, defenders of Mariupol and people who saved lives are returning home,” he said.

The Azovstal steelworks in the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol was under siege for weeks until Russian forces seized it in May, taking hundreds of Ukrainians captive. Several of them have been released in recent prisoner swaps.

Yermak thanked Ukraine’s coordination headquarters for the treatment of prisoners of war for their work.

“We still have a lot of work to do, but we have an important result…. We will return everyone,” Yermak wrote.

He did not provide details on who Ukraine gave to the Russian side.

Denis Pushilin, administrator of territory that calls itself the Donetsk People’s Republic, said a prisoner swap with Ukraine was taking place and said 50 people from each side were being exchanged.

The Russian Defense Ministry also said that 50 soldiers were returned, adding that they had been “in mortal danger in captivity.” They were to be flown to Moscow by the Russian military for treatment and rehabilitation, a ministry statement said.

The last exchange took place on October 26, when 10 Ukrainian soldiers were released from captivity. Prior to that exchange, Ukraine announced on October 17 that 108 women were released and the release of 20 Ukrainian soldiers on October 13.