116 Ukrainian POWs and 63 Russians freed in prisoner swap
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Dozens of Russian and Ukrainian prisoners of war have returned home after a prisoner exchange, officials from both sides said Saturday.
Ukraine’s top presidential aide Andriy Yermak said in a Telegram post that 116 Ukrainians had been released.
He said the released POWs included troops who resisted Mariupol during the siege of Moscow that reduced the southern port city to rubble, as well as guerrillas from the Kherson region and snipers captured during fierce battles underway for the eastern city of Bakhmut.
Russian defense officials, meanwhile, said 63 Russian soldiers had returned from Ukraine as a result of the swap, including some “special category” prisoners whose release had been secured after mediation by the Arab Emirates. United.
A statement released by the Russian Defense Ministry on Saturday did not provide details of these “special category” captives.
At least three civilians have been killed in Ukraine in the past 24 hours as Russian forces struck nine regions in the south, north and east of the country, according to reports broadcast on Ukrainian television by regional governors on Saturday. Morning.
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Two people were killed and 14 others injured in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine by Russian shelling and missile strikes, local governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said in a Telegram update on Saturday morning .
The casualty toll includes a man who was killed and seven others who were injured on Friday after Russian missiles slammed into Toretsk, a city in the Donetsk region. Kyrylenko said 34 houses, two kindergartens, an outpatient clinic, a library, a cultural center and other buildings were damaged in the strike.
Seven teenagers were injured by shrapnel after an antipersonnel mine exploded Friday night in the northeastern town of Izium, local governor Oleh Syniehubov said on Telegram. He said they were all hospitalized but their lives were not in danger.
Elsewhere, Ukrainian regional officials have reported Russia’s nightly bombardment of border settlements in the northern Sumy region, as well as the town of Marhanets, which neighbors the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. Kyiv has long accused Moscow of using the plant, which Russian forces seized early in the war, as a base for launching attacks on Ukrainian-held territory across the Dnieper.
Elsewhere, Ukraine’s Black Sea port of Odessa and surrounding areas were plunged into darkness following a large-scale network outage, the country’s network operator reported.
Ukrenergo said in a Telegram update that the outage involved equipment “repeatedly repaired” after Russia’s savage strikes on Ukraine’s energy grid, and residents should prepare for long outages.
“Unfortunately, the scale of the accident is quite significant, and this time the power supply restrictions will be longer. It is not yet possible to determine a specific time when (power) will be fully restored” , the company said.
Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said the energy ministry was sending “all the powerful generators it has in stock” to Odessa “within 24 hours” and that Ukraine’s energy minister and head of Ukrenergo were on their way to Odessa to supervise the repair work. .
Joanne Kozlowska in London contributed to this report.