Ukraine says 144 of its soldiers released in the greatest prisoner exchange of war


Kyiv-Ukraine has secured the release of 144 soldiers, including 95 defending Mariupol’s steel workers, on Wednesday, the largest prisoner exchange since Russia’s invasion, Ukrainian military intelligence said. ..

The majority of Ukrainians were seriously injured and suffered from ammunition and shrapnel injuries, blast trauma, burns, fractures and amputations, the agency known as GUR’s acronym said in a Telegram statement.

There were no comments from Russia about the prisoner exchange.

However, the head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic in eastern Ukraine said he had secured the release of 144 soldiers, including fighters and Russian soldiers.

“We handed over the same number of prisoners to Kyiv from Ukrainian armed forces, most of whom were injured.”

The prisoner exchange included the delivery of 43 members of the Azov Regiment, a national guard that Russia claims to be a dangerous battalion.

Prisoner exchange
In a photo of this handout, published June 29, 2022, a man with a white flag is walking on the road during a prisoner exchange at a location given as Zaporizhia in Ukraine. (Ukraine military information provision / distribution via Reuters)

Battle intensifies

On Saturday, a blast struck a southern city while fighting intensified over Lysychans’k, Ukraine’s last fort in the strategic eastern Luhansk region.

Andrey Marochiko, an officer of the pro-Russian Luhansk People’s Army, said the Ukrainian army was surrounded by the city, according to the Russian TASS news agency.

Russian media showed a video of Luhansk militia parading the city of Lysychans’k waving and cheering, but Ukrainian National Guard spokesman Luslan Musicuchk on Ukrainian national television, the city He said it was still in the hands of Ukraine.

“Currently there is a fierce battle near Lysychansik, but fortunately the city is not surrounded and is under the control of Ukrainian troops,” said Mujichuk.

He said the situation in Lysychans’k and Bakmut areas, and in the Kharkiv area, was the most difficult on the whole front line.

“The enemy’s goal here remains access to the administrative boundaries of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Also, in the direction of Slovyansk, the enemy is attempting assault,” he said.

Oleksandr Senkevych, mayor of the southern region of Mykolaiv, adjacent to Odesa’s important Black Sea harbor, reported a powerful explosion in the city.

“Be in the shelter!” He wrote in a telegram messaging app when the air raid siren sounded.

The cause of the blast was not immediately clear, but Russia later said it had attacked military command centers in the area.

Reuters was unable to independently verify the battlefield reports.

Ukrainian media said Vadym Denysenko, an adviser to the Ukrainian Ministry of Interior, claimed that the Russians surrounding Lysychans’k were a lie aimed at demoralizing Ukrainians and encouraging pro-Russian troops. Said that.

Kieu states that Moscow intensified missile attacks on cities far from the main battlefields in the east and deliberately attacked civilian locations. Meanwhile, Ukrainian troops at the forefront of the east portray a fierce bombardment of a residential area.

Russia has denied that its troops have targeted civilians.

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, Valery Gerasimov, General Staff of the Armed Forces of Russia, visited the Russian army involved in what Moscow calls a “special military operation”, but it is clear whether he was in Ukraine. It wasn’t.

Inspections followed a slow but steady increase by Russian troops in eastern Ukraine.

Russia is trying to expel Ukrainian troops from Luhansk and Donetsk Oblasts in the industrialized eastern Donbas region, where Moscow-backed separatists have fought against Kyiv since Russia’s first military intervention in Ukraine in 2014. increase.