Ukrainian pro-Kremlin opposition politician Viktor Medvedchuk, who was captured in April, is being swapped with Russia as part of a prisoner swap, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Zelensky said 200 Ukrainian prisoners returned home in exchange for Medvedchuk.
“At the beginning, we were offered to return 50 of our men in exchange for one of those who were in the detention center of the Ukrainian Security Service. We talked. We insisted. The number of 50 rose to 200,” Zelensky said during his party. address.
Vasyl Maliuk, the acting head of Ukraine’s security services, said Medvedchuk “is not only the godfather of Putin’s child, but also a traitor documented by us.”
“Additionally, while working on the Medvedchuk case, we neutralized several agent networks, detained several traitors and received a lot of valuable information which we use for counterintelligence and which will bring us closer to our victory,” added Maliuk.
Five Ukrainian commanders were included in the prisoner swap, as were 55 prisoners to be sent to Russia, according to Zelensky.
It is unclear whether the 55 prisoners are all Russian or pro-Russian, but Zelensky described them as people “who fought against Ukraine and betrayed Ukraine”.
According to Andrii Yermak, head of the office of the President of Ukraine, a total of 215 POWs were released under a POW exchange between Russia and Ukraine, including ten foreign prisoners.
Among those released today from captivity are 108 Azov fighters and other formations,” Yermak said. These fighters from the controversial Azov Battalion, part of Ukraine’s National Guard, which Russia has previously labeled as neo-Nazis.
Yermak also said 10 foreigners were among those swapped.
“Based on the requests of our international partners, we have also returned 10 foreign defenders of Ukraine. It is the representatives of these countries who help us the most – the United States, Great Britain, Croatia, Sweden and Morocco,” Yermak said. .
Head of the State Property Fund Rustem Umerov said: “They are safe and freed from captivity. We are currently in the capital of Saudi Arabia – Riyadh. The safe transfer is planned. from here to their countries with our partners”. Yermak added.
The Coordinating Headquarters for the Processing of Prisoners of War (CHTPW), a government institution under Defense Intelligence, said five Britons and two Americans were among the ten foreign prisoners.
“It should be noted that the release of captive foreign soldiers took place in the largest exchange since the full-scale invasion of Russia,” CHTPW said Thursday.
“The liberated heroes are waiting to be rehabilitated and adapted; they will receive the necessary treatment,” added the CHTPW.