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Ten people were freed from Russian captivity on June 28, 2024. (Coordination Headquarters for the Treatment of Prisoners of War)
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More than 14,000 Ukrainian civilians are being held in Russian captivity, Ukraine's Chief Ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets said on June 29.

Among the three categories of Ukrainians held by Russians – children, prisoners of war, and civilians – the return of civilians is "the most complicated," Lubinets said, because Ukraine does not have the option to carry out exchanges and there is no legal process for their return.

His remarks were reported by the Interfax Ukraine news agency.

Lubinets also noted that Ukraine continues to work on the return of 20,000 children and "tens of thousands" of Ukrainians who are considered missing.

Lubinets was commenting on the recent return of 10 civilians held in Russian captivity, including a Crimean Tatar activist and two priests of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.

He also noted that this was the first instance in which the Vatican partipated in efforts to return adult Ukrainians held in captivity. Previously, the Vatican had only assisted in efforts to return Ukrainian children.

"Until now, they (the Vatican) had helped us with the return of Ukrainian children. We are in direct communication with them. I hope this return will be a new beginning... Perhaps a new channel of communication has finally opened," Lubinets said.

The release was part of a prisoner exchange that began on June 25, the Coordination Headquarters for the Treatment of Prisoners of War reported. On June 25, 90 Ukrainian soldiers were brought back from Russian captivity.

As of June 28, 3,310 Ukrainians have been freed from Russian captivity.

Kyiv aims to conduct an all-for-all prisoner exchange, which was one of the subjects at Ukraine's peace summit in Switzerland in mid-June.

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Ukraine's GDP grew by more than 4% in 6 months.

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