Russia and Ukraine each return 90 prisoners of war, Russian ministry says

United Arab Emirates acts as an intermediary in the first prisoner exchange in nearly four months

Ukrainians hold a rally calling for a return of their relatives from Russian captivity. Photograph: Sergey Dolzhenko/EPA

Russia and Ukraine have each returned 90 prisoners of war in a swap, the Russian Defence Ministry said on Tuesday.

The ministry, in a post on the Telegram messaging app, said the Russian prisoners were able to return home with the help of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) acting as an intermediary.

“As a result of negotiations, 90 Russian prisoners of war who risked death in captivity are being returned from areas under Kyiv’s control,” the ministry said. “In exchange, 90 prisoners from the Ukrainian armed forces were handed over.”

It said the Russian prisoners were able to return home “with the United Arab Emirates participating as an intermediary in a humanitarian capacity”.

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The freed Russian prisoners were being flown to Moscow, where they would undergo medical checks, the ministry said.

Russia and Ukraine have carried out periodic exchanges of prisoners in their 28-month-old conflict. The most recent exchange took place on May 31st, when each side handed over 75 prisoners of war, also with the UAE acting as an intermediary. That was the first exchange in nearly four months. - Reuters