Ukraine announced Monday, Oct.17, it had swapped more than 100 prisoners with Russia in what it said was the first all-female exchange with Moscow after nearly eight months of war.
“Another large-scale exchange of prisoners of war was carried out today … we freed 108 women from captivity. It was the first all-female exchange,” the Ukraine presidency’s chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, said on social media.
Yermak said that some of the people exchanged were mothers and daughters who had been held together. Thirty-seven, he said, had surrendered at the Azovstal steel works in Mariupol.
Images released by Yermak showed dozens of women — some wearing coats and military fatigues — disembarking from white buses.
This prisoner swap is the largest since Sep. 21, when 215 prisoners of war, including 124 officers, were returned from Russian captivity.
Among those released were 108 warriors of the “Azov” regiment and other formations of the National Guard of Ukraine, as well as servicemen of the Ground and Naval Forces, the territorial defense of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the State Border Guard Service, the National Police, employees of the Security Service, and the State Special Transport Service and the State Customs Service.
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