Prisoner swap: More than 100 Ukrainian women released

More than 100 Ukrainian women have been released in a prisoner swap with Russia.

37 of them had been captured at the Azov Steelworks in Mariupol. In return, Ukraine released 100 Russians. / Prisoner swap: More than 100 Ukrainian women released

Big cheers at the recent prisoner swap between Russia and Ukraine. 108 Ukrainian women were released from Russian captivity on Monday. In return, 100 Russians were released, including 72 seafarers whose ships had been arrested in February.

In a video shared by the head of the Ukrainian presidential office, Andriy Yermak, on Telegram, the Ukrainian women ran in groups to the Ukrainian side and were greeted happily by their comrades – at an undisclosed handover location in the Zaporizhia region.

It was the first exchange only for Ukrainian women, it said. Among them were soldiers and civilians. Some were said to have been captured by pro-Russian separatists months ago, even before the Russian attack on Ukraine began in February.

Thirty-seven of the women who have now been released surrendered at the Azov Steelworks in Mariupol when the plant was captured by Russian forces, sources said. Among them was Viktoria Obidina, who served as a medic in the Azow Battalion. She does not yet know what she will do now, the young woman told a reporter from the Reuters news agency. “I’ll see my mother again and my daughter. I’ll get a job, something – I don’t know yet.”

Prisoner Swap: Zelenskyj: Don’t forget anyone

A next step towards the liberation of the Ukrainian people from Russian captivity has been taken, said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj in his nightly video address: “We managed to bring back 108 Ukrainian women. Officers, non-commissioned officers, border guards and civilians. Some had been in the country for months Russian captivity. We don’t forget anyone, we bring everyone back.”

According to Ukrainian media reports, it was the largest exchange of prisoners since September 21, when 215 prisoners of war, including 124 officers, were released from Russian captivity.

Until the very end they didn’t know that they would be released, said the young paramedic Viktoria: “We didn’t even know that it would be an exchange. We were taken away by bus and saw on the way that it was going in the direction of Zaporizhia. We were like that happy, but couldn’t believe it. We only saw our buses at the front line and could hardly believe our eyes.”

Zelenskyi called on his forces to take more prisoners. “The more Russian prisoners we have, the more of our people we can bring home,” he said. Every commander at the front should know that, Zelenskyj said.

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