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Russia launched greater than 200 prisoners of conflict in trade for a political ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin and roughly 50 troops in a prisoner swap Thursday.
The foremost swap got here as a shock amid Putin’s current announcement of a partial army mobilization. Ukraine says Turkey and Saudi Arabia helped facilitate the deal, which was hashed out over the course of weeks.
The swap sees 215 troops returned to Ukraine, whereas Russia obtained 55 troops and pro-Russian Ukrainians, together with Viktor Medvedchuk, the chief of a pro-Russian political celebration in Ukraine.
Russia additionally launched 10 Ukraine-allied overseas nationals, together with 5 U.Okay. residents, two Individuals, a Moroccan, a Croatian and a Swede.
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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy touted the deal in his nightly video tackle late Wednesday.
“That is clearly a victory for our nation, for our whole society. And the primary factor is that 215 households can see their family members protected and at residence,” Zelenskiy mentioned. “We bear in mind all our individuals and attempt to save each Ukrainian. That is the which means of Ukraine, our essence, that is what distinguishes us from the enemy.”
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Russia captured a lot of the 215 Ukrainian troopers within the fall of Mariupol, a metropolis that held out in opposition to Russian aggression for months underneath heavy shelling.
The swap comes at a hopeful time within the battle for Ukraine, having simply performed a majorly profitable counteroffensive in opposition to the Russian invaders. Ukrainian forces have retaken roughly 8,000 sq. miles of beforehand occupied territory since September 1.
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Putin has mobilized 300,000 Russian reservist troops in response. Will probably be weeks earlier than they attain the entrance strains, nonetheless.