Ukraine returned 215 Mariupol defenders of Mariupol from Russian captivity — they were exchanged for pro-Russian politician Viktor Medvedchuk

Anhelina Sheremet

Ukraine returned 215 defenders of Mariupol from Russian captivity, 108 of them were Azov regiment fighters. This was reported by the head of the Office of the President, Andriy Yermak, on the evening of September 21.

A representative of the Security Service of Ukraine reported that they were exchanged for Putinʼs crony Viktor Medvedchuk and 55 Russian soldiers, details will be given in further briefings. "It is not a pity to give Medvedchuk for real soldiers, he has passed all the investigative actions provided for by law. Ukraine received from him everything needed to establish the truth in criminal proceedings," President Zelensky said.

Commanders Denys Prokopenko, Serhiy Volynsky, Svyatoslav Palamar, Denys Shlega, and Oleg Khomenko — commanders from Azovstal — were released from captivity. They are in Ankara, where they arrived under exchange agreements. President Zelensky clarified that they will be in Turkey until the end of the war, their families will be able to see them.

Among others, Mykola Kush and Kostyantyn Nikitenko were released from captivity — the Russia-backed separatists sentenced them to death.

Military medic Kateryna Polishchuk with the call sign "Ptashka", as well as pregnant Maryana Mamonova, Valentina Zubko, Yana Shumovetska, Zoryana Repetska and Anastasia Chernenka were also released from captivity.

Here is the full list of those released from captivity (in Ukrainian):

This exchange is the largest since February 24. The process of rehabilitation, adaptation, recovery and treatment awaits the released defenders.

On the afternoon of September 21, it became known that the Russian authorities handed over 10 foreigners captured in Ukraine to Saudi Arabia.