Freed servicemen will now be airlifted to Moscow for treatment and rehabilitation, the military said
FILE PHOTO. © STRINGER / AFP
Some 82 Russian servicemen were released from Kiev-controlled territories on New Year’s Eve as a result of negotiations, the country’s Defense Ministry announced in a statement on Saturday.
The POWs were facing «mortal danger in captivity,» the ministry added, in a post on Telegram.
«Russian Aerospace Forces’ aircraft will transport the released servicemen to Moscow for treatment and rehabilitation at medical institutions of the Russian Defense Ministry,» the military said. It added that the soldiers were also receiving the necessary psychological assistance.
The acting head of the Donetsk People’s Republic, Denis Pushilin, said on Telegram that in the latest of a series of such swaps, Russia and Ukraine exchanged 82 prisoners on each side.
Russian State Duma deputy Shamsail Saraliev has posted a video on social media allegedly showing the released Russian soldiers. RT has not independently verified the authenticity of the footage.
Later on Saturday, Kiev confirmed the exchange. According to Andrey Yermak, chief-of-staff for Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, “140 people are returning home,” including 82 soldiers from the country’s armed forces.
“132 men and eight women, 22 officers and 118 sergeants and soldiers,” he announced in a post on social media.
Saturday’s swap marks the third this month. The previous exchange was reported by the Russian military on December 6, when 60 servicemen were freed. Another 50 POWs returned from Ukrainian captivity on December 1.