UAE helps mediate new prisoner exchange between Russia and Ukraine

Ministry of Foreign Affairs hails success of ‘new Emirati mediation’

Ukrainian prisoners of war are received after a prisoner exchange at an undisclosed location in Ukraine. AP
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Ukraine and Russia have exchanged almost 400 prisoners of war in the second major swap this month.

Russia's military said each side had received 195 returned soldiers on Wednesday, while Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said 207 Ukrainian soldiers and civilians had been returned.

The successful exchange was confirmed by the UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday.

It said the deal “reflects the global position of the UAE as a reliable partner at the international level, especially on the part of Russia and Ukraine”.

The ministry also expressed “the UAE’s commitment to continuing efforts aimed at finding a peaceful solution to the conflict in Ukraine, stressing its firm position of calling for diplomacy, dialogue and reducing escalation”.

In a statement, the Russian Defence Ministry said: “The released military personnel will be transported by military transport aircraft to Moscow for treatment and rehabilitation.

“All those released are provided with the necessary medical and psychological assistance.”

Moscow also thanked the UAE for its role in mediating the negotiations.

Meanwhile, Mr Zelenskyy wrote on X, formerly Twitter: “Our people are back. 207 of them. We return them home no matter what.

“We remember every Ukrainian in captivity. Both warriors and civilians. We must bring all of them back.”

It was the first such swap since a Russian military plane which, according to Moscow, had 65 prisoners of war on board, crashed near the Ukrainian border last week.

Earlier this month, 248 prisoners were returned to Russia and 230 Ukrainians were returned home in one of the most complex deals of the 22-month conflict.

Updated: January 31, 2024, 11:51 PM