The Ukrainian President’s Chief of Staff announced Saturday that 116 Ukrainian prisoners of war have been released and returned home.
Andriy Yermak shared on social media that those released “are the defenders of Mariupol, Kherson partisans, snipers from Bakhmut vicinities, and other heroes of ours.”
Head of Defense Intelligence Kyrylo Budanov said “It’s quite a successful and big exchange. I congratulate everyone on such an event. It became possible thanks to the joint work of absolutely all bodies involved in the activities of the Coordinating Staff. So we have a result: 116 defenders have returned home.”
The exchanges also saw the release of 63 Russian soldiers, Deputy of the Russian State Duma Shamsail Saraliyev announced in a telegram, which included a video of the released Russian soldiers.
“The group of released Russian servicemen includes persons of a “sensitive category”, whose exchange became possible thanks to the mediation efforts of the leadership of the United Arab Emirates,” the Russian ministry noted.
According to Ukrainian Deputy Head of Defence Intelligence Dmytro Usov, 87 soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine were released, including two from the Navy, two from the Special Operation Forces, and eight from the territorial defence units. Also, 19 representatives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs system returned home, including seven National Guard servicemen, six National Police representatives, five soldiers of the State Border Guard Service, and one representative of the State Emergency Service.
Chief of Staff Yermak said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has repeatedly emphasized that solders must receive medical aid first:
The state can provide the necessary support and assistance. Of course, it is necessary to arrange the meeting of the soldiers with their relatives. And then, if necessary, decide on treatment abroad. So that each of our defenders feels that he fought for the state, gave his health, risked his life, and the state is grateful to him, it takes care of him and guides him through life. Because he is the person thanks to whom Ukraine exists.
Yermak also announced that Ukraine was also able to “take the bodies of the foreign volunteers who’d perished,” being the bodies of United Kingdom aid volunteers Chris Parry and Andrew Bagshaw, as well as the body of Evgen Kulyk, a Ukrainian who had served with the French Foreign Legion and volunteered to join the Ukrainian forces.