(Kiev) Russians and Ukrainians exchanged prisoners on Thursday, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vareshuk announced on Facebook, accusing Russian forces of detaining and torturing civilians.
Released at 5:51 p.m.
“In exchange for the ten captured occupiers, we withdrew ten of our troops,” he wrote, adding that this was “the first real prisoner of war exchange” with Russia since the start of its offensive in Ukraine.
In addition, eleven Russian civilian sailors who escaped from a sinking ship in the Black Sea near Odessa were sent to Russia against the return of 19 civilian sailors captured by the Russians to Ukraine.
“I confirm the information regarding the transfer of ten Russian soldiers detained in Ukrainian territory to ten Ukrainian soldiers. There was also an exchange of Russian civilian sailors for Ukrainian civilian sailors,” said Tatiana Moskalkova, Russia’s human rights representative to the Kremlin.
On Wednesday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said two exchanges had already been arranged since the start of the Russian invasion, although they did not specify their dates or the number of prisoners involved.
In a video released in the evening, the Ukrainian deputy prime minister pointed out that Russian forces had detained 14 Ukrainian officials, most of them representatives of local councils or municipalities. He emphasized that the detention of civilians was against international law and demanded their release.
Citing the testimony of Ukrainians released by Russian forces, he accused Russian soldiers of torturing them and promised that they would be held accountable for their actions before international justice.
“All members of the Russian military who hear this report need to know that no one will go unpunished,” he said.