The Turkish president announced the exchange of more than two hundred prisoners of war from Russia and Ukraine after mediation with his counterparts from both countries late Wednesday. The announcement was made in New York, where Recep Tayyip Erdogan is on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.
Among the prisoners exchanged were five high-ranking officers from the ultra-nationalist Azov battalion, who were trapped for weeks inside the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol, before surrendering to the Russians. According to the defense reporter for The Kyiv Independent, these militiamen will be taken to Turkey, where they will be detained with security guarantees given by President Erdogan.
Five Azov commanders must remain in Turkish custody until the end of the war
The same Ukrainian media raise the number of released Ukrainian prisoners to 215, including a lieutenant colonel and dozens of officers. They would have achieved their independence in spite of all odds, 108 irregularities from the Azov regiment. In return, the Russians reportedly obtained the release of 55 comrades and, very significantly, the leader of the opposition forum in Ukraine, Viktor Medvedchuk, a pro-Russian deputy who was captured by Kyiv in April, a month after all the opposition parties. was taken. Zelensky’s government was outlawed. For the current Ukrainian war cabinet, Medvedchuk is nothing more than “Putin’s right hand in Ukraine” and “a traitor”.
Erdogan values the understanding of Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelensky and considers the agreement “an important step” towards an end to the war. Although Turkish diplomacy was behind the deal for several days, it could result from a visit by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to the House of Turkey in New York on Wednesday afternoon.
In the Turkish coup, because of its magnitude, another infamous release was announced, ten pro-Ukrainian mercenaries or volunteers whom Saudi Arabia managed to expel Russia from Riyadh in the past few hours. Will happen.
I don’t know exactly who in return. But it is known that one of them is a British citizen who was sentenced to death a month earlier by the People’s Council of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic. He will be accompanied by other British and American prisoners, as well as a Croatian, a Swede and a young Moroccan. In this case, all of them will be delivered to their countries of origin.
These de-escalation initiatives came unexpectedly, hours after Vladimir Putin stepped up his war effort with the announcement of a partial mobilization of reservists, which sparked some protest rallies in Moscow and St.
Despite its practice of equality, Turkey has described as “illegitimate” the referendum announced by Putin for the coming days in four regions of Ukraine under Russian occupation. Turkey’s foreign ministry warned: “These allegations will not be recognized by the international community.”
Erdogan shakes hands with Israeli PM after 14 years
Recep Tayyip Erdogan has a very packed agenda in New York and although Joe Biden does not appear on it, the British Prime Minister, Liz Truss, and much more exceptionally, the Prime Minister of Israel in remission times, Yair Lapid. The meetings between the Heads of Government of the two countries took place in no less than fourteen years. Although in an informal environment, and at one point, with the head of FIFA as the “referee”, the truth is that the appointment was known and set to the millimeter for days. Erdogan has also taken advantage of his stay in New York to announce a less extravagant visit to Israel after the November elections, in line with President Isaac Herzog’s visit to Turkey in March. Israel’s ambassador to Ankara took office this week after the position remained vacant for years. And Turkey will do the same in the coming days.