Ukraine has secured the release of 75 individuals from Russian captivity, including 71 servicemembers, President Volodymyr Zelensky announced on Telegram.

“All this time, we did not stop working for a single day to bring home every one of the Russian captives,” Zelensky wrote.

“Today we have an important result: another 75 of our people have returned to Ukraine,” he added.

According to the president, soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the National Guard, border guards, and four civilians have been freed from Russian captivity.

“We remember everyone. We are making every effort to find everyone. Thanks to the team working on exchanges,” Zelensky said.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) played a significant role in the latest prisoner exchange, Andriy Yusov, a representative of the Main Intelligence Directorate (HUR), said in a comment to Kyiv Post.

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“Ukraine is actively working to garner international support for the return of our defenders and appreciates the assistance provided in this context,” Yusov said, adding that “we are very grateful for the active mediation role played by the UAE.”

This is not the first prisoner exchange facilitated with the help of the UAE. Although the HUR representative cannot disclose all the details of the mediation until all Ukrainian defenders return home, he notes that the UAE’s role in this process is crucial.

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OSCE condemned it as "a grave violation of participating states' commitments under international law" and called for the immediate release of Vadym Golda and two other jailed OSCE officials.

“This is a joint active diplomatic effort.”

Ukrainian Ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets stated that his Office’s employees were present at the exchange site to monitor compliance with human rights, by international humanitarian law and the Geneva Conventions.

According to Lubinets, the soldiers, who heard their relatives’ voices for the first time in a long while, were filled with emotions.

“Families reacted no less emotionally to the calls, as some had not heard from their relatives since the beginning of the Russian invasion,” he said.

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In turn, the Ministry of Defense of Russia stated that as a result of the negotiation process, 75 Russian servicemembers were returned, and in exchange, 75 prisoners of war from the Armed Forces of Ukraine were handed over.

“The United Arab Emirates provided humanitarian assistance during the return of Russian servicemen from captivity,” the Russian ministry said in a statement.

Since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, there have been several exchanges of prisoners of war. However, over the past year, the Kremlin has significantly complicated the process of such exchanges.

On April 24, during Easter, Pope Francis called on Ukraine and Russia to exchange prisoners according to the “all for all” formula. Ukraine expressed readiness for such an exchange, but Russia refused.

On February 8, Ukraine and Russia announced they had swapped 100 prisoners of war each, in the latest exchange between the warring sides since Moscow accused Kyiv of downing a plane carrying captured Ukrainian soldiers.

Zelensky then posted photographs of men wrapped in Ukrainian flags. He reported that most of the men had defended the port city of Mariupol, which Russia captured in 2022.

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In January, Russia accused Ukraine of shooting down a military plane carrying 65 of its soldiers. Moscow claimed these soldiers were set to be freed in a prisoner swap but provided little evidence that they were on board.

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