Many Ukrainians released by Russia in a large POW exchange have been tortured. So says the head of military intelligence in Kiev. Some of the released Ukrainian POWs have been hospitalized, according to the interior minister. The prisoners of war were released after the warring countries concluded a deal after mediation by Turkey and Saudi Arabia. In total, about 300 people were released.
Earlier in the day, it was announced that Kiev has exchanged a record number of 215 soldiers, including five leaders of the defense of the Azovstal plant in Mariupol, with Moscow. According to Andri Jermak, the chief of the presidential staff, pregnant soldiers were also among the exchanged POWs.
In return, Kiev released 55 Russian prisoners, including pro-Russian politician Viktor Medvedchuk. Medvedchuk is considered a confidant of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the president is godfather to one of Medvedchuk’s daughters and is accused of high treason in Ukraine.
Among the exchanged prisoners are also ten foreigners who had taken up arms before Kiev. Those ten, five British, two Americans, a Swede, a Croat and a Moroccan, were taken to the Saudi capital Riyadh.
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Ukrainian public broadcaster Suspilne reports that the prisoner exchange took place in Chernihiv, a city in northern Ukraine. The exchange reportedly came after mediation by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.