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144 Ukrainian soldiers return home

He further said that some of the Ukrainian soldiers released were part of "nationalist battalions."

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Kyiv: Ukraine has carried out its largest exchange of prisoners of war since Russia’s invasion on February 24.

In a Telegram message on Wednesday, Ukrainian military intelligence said, “This is the largest exchange since the start of the full-scale Russian invasion. Of the 144 freed, 95 are Azovstal defenders.”

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It further said that most of the Ukrainians released till now had serious injuries such as burns and amputations.

The Guardian quoted a Pro-Russian separatist head as confirming the prisoner swap and said that 144 Russian and separatist soldiers were returned to Russia.

Denis Pushilin, the head of the pro-Russian separatists Donbas People’s Republic, said, “We handed over to Kyiv the same number of prisoners from the Ukrainian armed forces, most of whom were wounded. Our main task is to rescue the fighters who took part in a special military operation.”

He further said that some of the Ukrainian soldiers released were part of “nationalist battalions.”

According to The Guardian, more than a thousand Azovstal defenders were transferred to Russian-held territory in May after they surrendered to Moscow’s forces at the end of a three-month siege.

Among the Azovstal defenders swapped on Wednesday were 43 members of the Azov Regiment, the battalion that played a central role in Russia’s justification for its invasion.

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