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Russia and Ukraine have successfully completed another significant prisoner exchange, even after the recent crash of a Russian military transport plane that Moscow claims was carrying 65 Ukrainian soldiers for a similar swap.

This exchange is part of a series of periodic swaps facilitated by intermediaries since the war began nearly two years ago, despite the halt in peace talks after the initial months of the conflict.


The Russian Defence Ministry reported that each side received 195 soldiers in the swap, while Ukrainian officials stated they regained 207 individuals. According to the Russian Defence Ministry cited by RIA state news agency, the exchange was brokered with the help of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The ministry stated, “On January 31, as a result of the negotiation process, 195 Russian servicemen who were in mortal danger in captivity were returned from territory controlled by the Kyiv regime. In return, exactly 195 prisoners from the armed forces of Ukraine were handed over.”

President Vladimir Putin of Russia indicated a willingness to continue such exchanges, noting that Kyiv appeared open to more swaps. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky celebrated the exchange, saying, “Our people are back. 207 of them. We return them home no matter what.”

The Ukrainian state body responsible for prisoners of war noted that the exchange included soldiers who defended Mariupol and Kherson and some captured on Snake Island in the Black Sea, with 36 of the returned Ukrainians being injured or seriously ill.


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