A total of 110 Russians have returned home from Ukraine as part of a major prisoner exchange with Kiev, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Monday. The group included 72 civilian sailors who had been held in Ukraine since February 2022, it added.
In exchange, Moscow released 108 female soldiers to Ukraine. Two women slated for the exchange turned down the offer and said they would like to stay in Russia, the ministry said. All of the Russians who returned home would receive all the necessary medical and psychological assistance, it added.
Kiev also confirmed what it called “another large-scale” exchange. Earlier on Monday, the head of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), Denis Pushilin, announced the swap on social media. The exchange would have involved some 30 soldiers from various parts of Russia, including the DPR and the neighboring Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR), along with the civilian sailors, he said at that time.
Kiev detained dozens of Russian civilians who had been in boats that stopped at Ukrainian ports in late February, when Moscow launched its military operation. Some of them were freed after Russian troops captured the port city of Mariupol, but many others remained in Ukrainian custody.