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Peskov claims Ukraine, Turkey ‘violated’ prisoner exchange agreements on return of Azov commanders

by Alexander Khrebet July 8, 2023 8:57 PM 1 min read
President Volodymyr Zelensky and the commanding officers who defended the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol on the way to Ukraine on July 8 (Photo: President's Office)
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Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov claimed Ukraine and Turkey "violated” prisoner exchange agreements amid the return of Ukrainian commanding officers who defended the Azovstal steel plant from Turkey.

Five Ukrainian commanding officers, Denys Prokopenko, Serhiy Volynskiy, Sviatoslav Palamar, Denys Shleha, and Oleh Khomenko, were to be kept in Turkey as part of an prisoner exchange agreement between Ukraine and Russia.  

Peskov claimed Moscow was "not notified” about the officers' transfer to Ukraine.

However, Ukraine's military intelligence spokesperson Andrii Yusov told Suspilne news outlet that Ukraine returned Azovstal commanders home in accordance with international law.

President Volodymyr Zelensky's administration announced on July 8 that top officers will be returning home from Turkey.

The Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol became a symbol of Ukrainian resistance at the onset of the full-scale Russian invasion, as Ukrainian soldiers valiantly defended.

Russian forces occupied Mariupol in late May 2022. The port city on the Azov Sea was turned scorched earth after almost three-month siege.

Ukraine reached a deal to secure the release Azovstal defenders from Russian captivity in September 2022.

Under the deal, Ukraine got 200 prisoners of war in exchange for Viktor Medvedchuk, Putin's family friend and Ukraine's most high-profile pro-Russian politician. Medvedchuk was arrested in April 2022 on the charges of high treason.

Separately, five top commanders of the Azovstal defense were exchanged for 55 Russian prisoners of war, whose names weren't revealed. After the swap, Zelensky said that the condition is that they will stay in Turkey “until the war ends.”

Read also: Yermak: 45 Azovstal defenders return home from Russian captivity

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