Prisoners exchange deal between Russia and Ukraine as Russia bury the soldiers who killed in Makeyvka
Ukraine returned 50 POWs from Russia in exchange for the release of the same number of Russian POWs on Sunday, in a deal welcomed by both sides, despite continued fighting between them in eastern Ukraine.
The Russian Defense Ministry said that the 50 released Russian soldiers will be flown to Moscow for medical and psychological rehabilitation.
“On January 8, as a result of negotiations, 50 Russian servicemen, who were in mortal danger during their captivity, were returned from the territory controlled by the Kyiv regime,” the ministry said in a statement.
Ukraine confirmed the information and said that Russia had released 50 Ukrainian military personnel in the context of the same agreement.
“Another successful prisoner of war exchange 50… Ukrainian soldiers have returned, and it will continue…We’ve to bring all of our people home, and we are working on that”.
Yermak posted pictures of the released Ukrainian soldiers carrying bags of food near a bus they were about to board, in addition to a video of them chanting the Ukrainian national anthem as soon as the bus started.
On the other hand, relatives of Russian soldiers killed in the Ukrainian strike on Makeyvka in eastern Ukraine on New Year’s Eve buried at least nine of them on Sunday in the Samara region, according to Russian local authorities.
At least 89 soldiers were killed, according to the toll provided by Moscow, which other Russian sources and the Ukrainian authorities considered to be much higher, in that strike that shook the country’s entity and was carried out, according to the Russian version, with HIMARS missile artillery systems that the United States provided to Ukraine.
Two men were buried in the Tolyatti region on the banks of the Volga River, according to Mayor Nikolay Renets, who on social media praised soldiers who went to Ukraine “to defend the interests of our nation, our future and the future of our children”.
And the local automaker AvtoVAZ pledged, according to one of its officials, Dimitri Michelindo, to provide financial support to the families of the two soldiers.
Two other soldiers were buried in the city of Novokubyshevsk, according to local authorities who hailed them as real heroes.
“It’s a difficult period for the country and they were loyal to the nation,” said Mayor Sergei Markov.
Five other men were buried Saturday and Sunday in smaller cities and towns in the Samara region of central Russia.
On Sunday, the Russian army announced that it had bombed two military barracks in the Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk, in response to the Makievka strike.