207 Ukrainians return home from Russian captivity
On January 31, Ukraine returned 207 Ukrainians from Russian captivity, including soldiers of the Armed Forces, the National Guard, border guards, and police officers
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced this on Telegram.
"Ours are at home. 207 guys. We are returning them no matter what. We remember everyone in captivity. Soldiers and civilians. We have to return everyone. We are working on it. Now we have another great work of the Ukrainian team. Budanov, Yermak, Usov, Maliuk, and Klymenko - well done!" the president wrote.
Later, the head of the President’s Office, Andriy Yermak, clarified that soldiers of the Armed Forces and the National Guard, border guards and National Police officers were returned from Russian captivity. Among them are the defenders of Mariupol and Zmiinyi Island, and soldiers who were at Azovstal in the Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia, Kharkiv, Luhansk, Kherson and Sumy regions.
"This is the second major exchange after a long break. And we continue to work and fulfill the President's task of returning everyone," Yermak added.
The Coordination Headquarters for the Treatment of Prisoners of War noted that this is the 50th exchange of prisoners of war since the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion.
Ukraine managed to return 95 representatives of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, 56 National Guard members, 26 border guards, 29 Territorial Defense soldiers, and one representative of the National Police.
"180 defenders returning home are private and non-commissioned officers, and another 27 are Ukrainian officers. At least 36 of them are wounded or seriously ill. The oldest of the released defenders is already 61 years old, and the youngest will soon be 21," the ministry stated.
The headquarters said that they managed to rescue Junior Sergeant Zakhar from Russian captivity, who was captured by the Russians together with his wife Tetiana in May 2022 after being evacuated from Azovstal. The woman was exchanged earlier and lived in Dnipro with her daughters.
"However, on January 14, Russians hit the high-rise building where the family lived with a missile. The defender died under the rubble along with her younger daughter and her husband's mother. Ruslana's eldest 19-year-old daughter is waiting for her father's return today," the statement readssays.
In addition, the medics who rescued soldiers and civilians at Mariupol Iron and Steel Works and Azovstal, the defender of Zmiinyi Island and a senior lieutenant who has been defending Ukraine since 2014, who has been through Debaltseve and has been awarded the Order for Courage twice, returned home.
"Since the full-scale invasion, 3,035 defenders have been released from Russian captivity. We express our gratitude to the United Arab Emirates for providing assistance and facilitating this exchange," the headquarters added.
- Prior to that, on January 3, 230 soldiers and civilians were returned to Ukraine as part of the exchange. Among them are 130 representatives of the Armed Forces (14 from the Territorial Defense, 14 from the Navy), 55 from the National Guard, 38 from the State Border Guard Service, and 1 from the National Police.