One hundred Azovstal fighters return to Ukraine after prisoner swap


Ukrainian soldier Mijello Dyanov in two images. The first was taken on 11 May, a few days before the surrender of the last Azovstal, the Marispol factory where the last resistance against the Russian invasion took refuge. On the right, Dianov in a photo taken yesterday. Ukrainian is part of a prisoner exchange brokered by Saudi Arabia: 215 Ukrainians in exchange for Viktor MedvedchukRussian supporter and personal friend of Putin (he is the father of the Russian President’s granddaughter).

While recruitment orders came in for hundreds of men in Russia, one hundred soldiers in Ukraine who fought at the Mariupol steel mill before the city fell to the Russians, embraced their families after months of being captured by pro-Russian forces. His fate was predicted black. The Duma demanded his head and the Azov regiment was declared a terrorist organization by the Supreme Court.

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Jordi Joan Bath

Due to its ultranationalist origins in 2014, the Kremlin has denounced the existence of the Nazis in Ukraine over this formation and has served as a pretext to justify its “special military operation”, aimed at “condemning” the neighboring country. Is. Among those released are five senior officers of the regiment, but they will have to stay on Turkish soil until the end of the war.

Medvedchuk, whose Russophon minority party was the second-largest force in the 2019 Ukrainian elections, was captured by Kyiv in April, a month after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s war cabinet outlawed his political power. For the president, the tycoon is nothing more than “Putin’s right hand in Ukraine”, guilty of “high treason”. But he celebrated the release of two hundred men instead of just one.

On the contrary, in Russia the news was received like a bucket of cold water. Ramzan Kadyrov, Chechen leader and A strange dissenting voice with the Kremlinclaimed to be “extremely dissatisfied” with an exchange it calls “unacceptable”. “Criminals identified as terrorists cannot be exchanged for the military,” he writes on his Twitter account. Wire,

The regimental exchange, which took place on the same day that Putin decided to mobilize at least 300,000 reservists, went unnoticed on Russian television. News and talk shows avoided the word ‘Azov’ when reporting news, according to BBC analyst Francis Scarr.

“Criminals identified as terrorists cannot be exchanged for military

Ramzan KadyrovChechnya’s leader

In late May the last Azovstal fighters (over 2,000 men and women) surrendered to the advancing Russian troops. Kyiv immediately assured that he would negotiate a prisoner exchange, but the days passed and his release seemed more and more distant. His relatives, who had been protesting for several days in the capital, demanding his release, did not know anything about his relatives.

it was a blow to their hopes Russian attack on Olenivka prison, near Donetsk, where some members of the regiment were located and where at least fifty prisoners of war were killed. Their wives described the bombing as a “public execution”.

But yesterday the eternal wait for many came to an end and photos of the reunion, with faces full of joy and emotion, flooded the social networks of Ukraine. Several before and after snapshots of these fighters were compared, some of which, like Dyanov, were photographed by Ukrainian photographer and soldier Dmitry Kozatsky, aka Orest, as he protested in the dilapidated factory basement. was. He is also one of those released.

Nevertheless, feelings were mixed. Some of his wives kept their enjoyment to themselves because the stories of suffering (many were badly injured when they resisted in a steel mill) and the tortures suffered by their husbands tormented them. “I’m afraid to imagine what they did to her there,” Katerina Prokopenko told Voice of America television.

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