Ukraine and Russia swap prisoners of war in first deal in months

Ukraine and Russia exchanged hundreds of captive soldiers on Wednesday, the first such prisoner of war exchange in months.

Noteworthy, the two warring sides had carried out several rounds of exchanges during Moscow’s 22-month long invasion, but the process had stalled in the latter half of last year.

In almost simultaneous statements Wednesday, the Russian defence ministry and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced they had received over 200 soldiers each.

“More than 200 of our soldiers and civilians have been returned from Russian captivity,” Zelensky said on Telegram, posting a video of uniformed men celebrating.

Ukraine’s human rights ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets said 230 Ukrainian soldiers had been released in total, marking what he said was the 49th exchange between the two sides.

Moscow’s defence ministry said 248 of its soldiers had been returned in a deal that came about after “complex” negotiations mediated by the United Arab Emirates.