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Ruบอล ไทย ออสเตเล ย ว นนssia, Ukraine carry out exchange of 190 prisoners

Deepening o | บอล ไทย ออสเตเล ย ว นน | Updated: 2024-07-24 05:01:25

Ukrainian prisoners pose for a photo after a prisoner swap between Russia and Ukraine at an undisclosed location in Ukraine on Wednesday. UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL PRESS OFFICE/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Russia and Ukraine conducted a major exchange of prisoners on Wednesday, 190 in all, in the third such swap in the past seven weeks, following negotiations mediated by the United Arab Emirates.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said all 95 Ukrainians who were freed were from the military, and thanked the UAE for its help.

Russia's defense ministry, in a statement on Telegram, said the returning soldiers would receive medical examinations and physical and psychological rehabilitation. It said the freed troops had faced "mortal danger" in Ukrainian captivity.

The prisoner exchange was the third over the past seven weeks, with the first announced at the end of May.

Kyiv has secured the release of 3,405 people from Russian captivity since the start of Russia's special military operation in February 2022, the Ukrainian Coordinating Committee on Dealing with Prisoners of War said.

It said seven officers and 88 soldiers and sergeants were freed, and most of them had been in captivity since 2022.

The committee posted a video showing Ukrainian troops boarding buses to be transported home. It showed one serviceman, wrapped in the blue and yellow national flag, saying into his mobile phone: "I still cannot believe that I am at home."

Twenty-three people had taken part in the three-month defense of the Sea of Azov port of Mariupol, and were captured by Russian forces in May 2022, the committee said.

"Many returning Ukrainian soldiers suffer from consequences of their wounds and have chronic diseases that require long-term treatment," the committee said on Telegram.

In the second exchange in June, Russia and Ukraine each handed back 90 prisoners.

Separately, former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said the accession of Ukraine to NATO would be a declaration of war against Moscow and only "prudence" on behalf of the alliance could prevent the planet from being shattered into pieces.

The NATO leaders pledged at their summit last week to support Ukraine on an "irreversible path to full Euro-Atlantic integration, including NATO membership", but left open when that membership could happen.

'Direct threat'

Medvedev, who is now deputy chairman of Russia's Security Council, told the news outlet Argumenty I Fakty that Ukraine's membership would go beyond a direct threat to Moscow's security.

"This, in essence, would be a declaration of war — albeit with a delay," he said in remarks published on Wednesday. "The actions that Russia's opponents have been taking against us for years, expanding the alliance …take NATO to the point of no return."

Medvedev said Russia did not threaten NATO but would respond to the alliance's attempts to advance its interests.

"The more such attempts there are, the harsher our answers will become," Medvedev said.

He also reiterated Moscow's line that the appointment of Mark Rutte as the head of NATO will not change the alliance's stance.

"For Russia, nothing will change, since key decisions are made not by NATO member countries, but by one state — the United States," Medvedev said.

Still, Russia is ready to work with any US leader who is willing to engage in "equitable, mutually respectful dialogue", Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Wednesday.

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