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Ukraine returns 130 more POWs from Russian captivity

by The Kyiv Independent news desk March 7, 2023 5:45 PM 2 min read
Ukrainian soldiers released from Russian captivity during a prisoner exchange on March 7. (President's Office Head Andrii Yermak via Telegram)
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President's Office Head Andrii Yermak reported that 126 servicemen and four servicewomen were released from Russian captivity during a prisoner exchange on March 7.

Most of the released soldiers were defending the now-occupied port city of Mariupol in southeastern Ukraine, according to Yermak. Seventy-one soldiers were reportedly evacuated from the Azovstal steel plant.

The Coordinating Headquarters for the Treatment of Prisoners of War said that among the freed POWs were also personnel captured by Russian troops near Bakhmut and Soledar in Donetsk Oblast as well as those fighting in Luhansk Oblast.

Forty-five of the freed military POWs belong to Ukraine's Armed Forces, 25 to the National Guard, 23 to the State Border Service, 21 to the Naval Forces, eight to the Territorial Defense Forces, and eight to the State Special Transport Service.

Most of the soldiers who returned to Ukraine have serious injuries or illnesses acquired in battles and during captivity, according to the coordinating headquarters. The youngest released POW is not yet 21 years old, while the oldest will soon turn 64.

On the other side of the swap, 90 Russian soldiers were returned from Ukrainian-controlled territory, Russian state news agency TASS reported on March 7, citing the country's defense ministry.

During the previous prisoner exchange on Feb. 16, Ukraine returned 100 military personnel and one civilian.

1,464 service members and 132 civilians were freed from Russian captivity in 2022, according to the Ministry for Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories.

Pregnant medic spent 5 months in Russian captivity: 'I feared they would take my child away'
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