Ukraine has returned from Russian captivity 42 male and three female defenders of Azovstal, Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Andriy Yermak has said.

"Great news on this sunny day. We have returned 45 our people home. These are 42 male and three female defenders of Azovstal. All of them are National Guard fighters from the detachment that was created nine years ago on the Azov coast. Thirty-five privates and sergeants, ten officers," he said on the Telegram channel on Saturday.

"Among them there are the fighters who got married during the defense of Mariupol, at Azovstal. There is also our fighter who had been in Russian captivity for two and half years before the full-scale invasion. He was captivated during the Shyrokyne operation. Later he was released from captivity and immediately returned to the detachment. He was captivated again at Azovstal and today he is coming back home," Yermak said.

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The Coordination Headquarters for the Treatment of Prisoners of War said that among the released defenders there is a participant of the legendary helicopter mission of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Defense Ministry of Ukraine for the evacuation of wounded from Azovstal. The evacuation helicopter was shot down, however, the serviceman managed to survive. Severely wounded, he was threatened with the so-called "trial." Now, he will receive necessary treatment and rehabilitation.

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"A veteran of the war in Afghanistan, a 56-year-old sergeant, who was injured on Maidan, went through the ATO [Anti-Terrorist Operation], the JFO [Joint Forces Operation] and repelled the Rushist enemy's full-scale aggression, is also breathing the air of freedom," the headquarters said.

Many of the defenders who were released today have wounds and serious health problems, They will receive all necessary assistance in Ukraine, undergo rehabilitation and receive all social payments and financial allowance.

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