After nearly seven months of war, Ukraine and Russia have announced a major prisoner swap. 205 Ukrainians returned from Russian captivity, according to the head of the Ukrainian Presidential Office, Andriy Yermak. The Moscow-controlled separatists in eastern Ukraine released ten foreigners who were flown to Riyadh after mediation by Saudi Arabia.
According to Yermak, the Ukrainian returnees included the commanders of the defense of Mariupol, who had been holed up in the Azovstal steel works and resisted the Russian conquerors until mid-May. "Our heroes are free," he wrote on Telegram.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the exchange was mediated by Turkey, the state news agency Anadolu reported on Wednesday evening. Erdogan called the agreement an "important step" towards ending the war in Ukraine.