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144 Ukrainian fighters released from Russian prisoners of war in prisoner exchange

On Wednesday, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense released 144 of the country's fighters from Russian prisoners of war by an "exchange mechanism" and among the released fighters. Announced that nearly 100 people participated. Defense of the Ukrainian coastal city of Mariupol. Before

, Ukrainian influential lawmakers were in the process of exchanging prisoners of war with VOA, and Russian businessman Roman Abramovich, who is related to Putin, took an "active role" in the talks. He said he was playing.

A few hours later, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called this development "optimistic and very important" in his nightly speech to the public. Zelenskyy said that 59 of the soldiers who returned to Ukraine were members of the National Guard, followed by 30 Navy soldiers, 28 Army soldiers, 17 border guards, 9 who fought as territorial defense soldiers, and One is a policeman.

"The oldest liberated person is 65 and the youngest is 19", he said in a video broadcast. "In particular, 95 defenders of Azovstal have returned home," Zelensky added.

The defense of Mariupol's Azovstal ironworks stood out as a particularly fierce struggle between Ukrainian and Russian troops from March to May. According to figures released by the Russian side, the number of casualties on the Ukrainian side is unknown, and the number of Ukrainian fighters captured by Russia was close to 2,500.

Wednesday news released 17 Ukrainians, including 16 military personnel and 1 civilian, 15 Russians released, and 46 Ukrainian bodies released. It came shortly after the announcement that he had been released from Russian prisoners in exchange. The soldiers went home. In return, Ukraine handed Russia 40 of their fallen soldiers. Of the 46 fallen Ukrainian fighters, 21 participated in the defense of Azovstal, according to the Ukrainian government.

David Alakamia, my leader of the Ukrainian Parliament's Zelensky nation, said when Abramovich visited Washington earlier this month, Abramovich "actively played a role in the prisoner exchange negotiations between Kyiv and Moscow. I told VOA that I was doing it.

"As a human, I think he intends to stop the war. I don't like the idea that Russia invaded Ukraine," Abramovich said of Abramovich.

As the negotiations are concerned, "He is trying to play a neutral role, but for us we treat him as a representative of Russia. Of course, he ( "It's closer to Mr Putin (than the Ukrainian side)," Abramovich said, adding that Abramovich sees Abramovich as a "messenger" who can deliver a message to Russian President Vladimir Putin "in its original form."

Abramovich was the owner of the British football club Chelsea. He is the aftermath of subsequent sanctions by the United Kingdom, the United States, and other Western nations against Russian businessmen believed to have benefited from Russia's recent invasion of Ukraine and close ties with the Russian government and Putin. In response, I arranged for the sale.

On Wednesday, Zelensky concludes his nightly speech to the country by thanking those who helped secure the return of 144 Ukrainian fighters from Russian prisoners of war. ..

"Thanks to the Ukrainian Defense Intelligence Agency and everyone who worked for this result, but let's talk about this later. We are all Ukrainian men and women. I will do everything to bring him home, "Zelensky said.

When the war entered its fifth month, the exact number of prisoners on each side was not disclosed. Little is known about how they are treated or exactly where they are held.