Kiev, Oct 18 (UiTV/IANS) – Russia has released 108 Ukrainian women as part of the latest prisoner exchange between the two warring countries, authorities in Kiev have confirmed.
In a social media post on Monday, Andriy Yermak, head of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s staff, said that it was the first all-women exchange since the war began on February 24, reports Ukrayinska Pravda.
“There were mothers and daughters in captivity, who were eagerly awaited by their relatives,” he added.
According to Yermak, of the 108 women, 37 were reportedly captured after surrendering at the siege of the Azovstal steel works in Mariupol, which ended in May.
He added that all of them except 12 are servicewomen.
Yermak further said that among those released were young women “illegally imprisoned in temporarily occupied areas of Donetsk and Luhansk, who were captured even before the large-scale invasion”.
He added that all the women will now undergo medical examination and rehabilitation.
Meanwhile, the State Border Guard Service told Ukrayinska Pravda that four of the women freed from Russian captivity were border guards.
On Facebook, the Navy released photos of the women boarding buses in an unspecified area and of them arriving after dark in government-held territory in the southern region of Zaporizhzhia.
It confirmed that 32 of the freed women served as Marines.
As part of the exchange, Ukraine also freed Russian 80 sailors and 30 service personnel, Denis Pushilin, the top Russian-backed official in Donetsk, confirmed.