Sunday saw tears of relief in the Russian-occupied Donetsk region of Ukraine as Prisoners of War (POW) returned to their loved ones following a prisoner swap between the two warring nations.
Denis Pushilin, the president of the region’s Russian-installed government, welcomed the returning fighters at Amvrosiivka, a village of 18,000 people near the internationally recognised border with Russia.
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Some of the men sobbed when they were reunited with their crying relatives.
One of the returning soldiers, former POW Maxim Chekanov while talking to Reuters expressed disbelief that he’s finally “home”. Recalling his ordeal he said, “It was so horrible, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone”.
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As per the report, Chekanov was captured by Ukrainian forces on October 11 and upon returning, he shared that he “still can’t believe I’m home”.
Lyudmila, the mother of one of the freed fighters, claimed her son Yevgeny had dropped a lot of weight since she last saw him but expressed relief that he was now home.
“I didn’t recognise him,” she said while talking to the news agency.
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The POWs were freed following a prisoner swap that took place on November 3, where eight months into the conflict, the two sides released 107 captives each.
Prisoner swaps have become a common occurrence in the ongoing war with the warring nations capturing opposing forces and using them as bargaining chips to free their own captured forces. As per Reuters both military personnel and high-ranking politicians have been a part of these exchanges.
(With inputs from agencies)
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