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Ukraine, Russia return 20 soldiers each in second prisoner swap this week

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks during a virtual address to U.S. members of Congress, March 16, 2022. (Video screenshot)

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

Moscow and Kyiv have exchanged 20 soldiers, the two sides said on October 13 in the second prisoner swap to take place this week.

“Another exchange of prisoners, another moment of joy,” Andriy Yermak, the head of the Ukrainian president’s office, said on Telegram. “We have managed to free 20 people.”

Fourteen are soldiers of Ukraine’s army and four are members of the territorial defense, Yermak said. The other two are members of the national guard and navy, he added.

Some of them had been detained in Olenivka prison in the Donetsk region. Others had been held in occupied areas of the Zaporizhzhya and Kherson regions, he added.

Yermak posted a video of some of the released prisoners showing them sitting on a bus in their uniforms. He also posted two photos of the men, who he said were undergoing medical examinations.

The Russian Defense Ministry reported the return of its soldiers, saying on Telegram: “Twenty Russian soldiers have returned from Ukrainian territory controlled by Kyiv” and were getting the medical and psychological help they needed.

Russia and Ukraine last exchanged prisoners on October 11. Kyiv said then that 32 of its soldiers had been freed and the body of Dmytro Fialka, an Israeli who volunteered to fight for Ukraine, was returned.