Russia and Ukraine have exchanged a whole lot of prisoners of conflict within the largest single launch of captives because the battle started in February 2022.
Ukrainian authorities mentioned 230 Ukrainian prisoners of conflict returned house within the first alternate in nearly 5 months on Wednesday.
Russia’s defence ministry mentioned 248 Russian servicemen have been freed on the identical day underneath the deal sponsored by the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has thanked the “warriors on the frontline who take the occupiers prisoner and replenish our alternate fund”.
He added: “The extra Russians we take prisoner, the more practical negotiations on exchanges will likely be.”
The UAE’s overseas ministry attributed the swap on Wednesday to the “sturdy pleasant relations between the UAE and each the Russian Federation and the Republic of Ukraine, which have been supported by sustained calls on the highest ranges”.
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The UAE has maintained shut financial ties with Moscow regardless of Western sanctions and stress on Russia after it launched its invasion.
Ukraine’s human rights ombudsman, Dmytro Lubinets, mentioned it was the forty ninth prisoner alternate through the conflict.
A few of the Ukrainians had been held since 2022. Amongst them have been a few of those that fought in milestone battles for Ukraine’s Snake Island and town of Mariupol.
Russian officers supplied no different particulars of the alternate.
The Russian navy in the meantime mentioned it had shot down 12 Ukrainian missiles over Russia’s southern Belgorod area bordering Ukraine.
Belgorod governor Vyacheslav Gladkov mentioned the state of affairs within the regional capital, additionally referred to as Belgorod, “stays tense”.
The town got here underneath two rounds of shelling on Wednesday, he wrote on Telegram.
“Air defence programs labored,” he mentioned, promising extra particulars about doable harm after inspecting the realm later within the day.
Belgorod, which has a inhabitants of round 340,000 individuals, is the most important Russian metropolis near the Ukrainian border. It may be reached by comparatively easy and movable weapons akin to a number of rocket launchers.
On Saturday, shelling in Belgorod killed greater than two dozen individuals.
The assault was one of many deadliest on Russian soil since Moscow’s full-scale invasion.
On Monday, Mr Putin lashed out on the Belgorod assaults.
“They need to intimidate us and create uncertainty inside our nation,” he mentioned, promising to step up retaliatory strikes.
Ukrainian officers by no means acknowledge accountability for strikes on Russian territory.