106 Ukrainian soldiers freed in prisoner swap with Russia, Kyiv says
PHOTO CAPTION: Ukrainian servicemen of the 128th territorial defence brigade attend a military training, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Donetsk region, Ukraine, May 18, 2023. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo
KYIV (Reuters) - Ukraine secured the release of 106 captured soldiers in a prisoner exchange with Russia on Thursday, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's chief of staff said.
The soldiers, including eight officers, were captured fighting in the devastated eastern city of Bakhmut that Russia says it has captured, but where Kyiv's forces say they still have a small foothold.
"Every one of them is a hero of our state. Many of the ones we are returning from captivity were considered missing. The relatives of these people have gone through a difficult time," said the senior official, Andriy Yermak.
There was no immediate information about the forces Russia received from Ukraine in exchange. Russia launched a full-scale invasion of its neighbour in February 2022.
Ukrainian military intelligence says that 2,430 Ukrainians have been freed in prisoner swaps, including 139 civilians.
(Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; writing by Tom Balmforth; editing by Timothy Heritage)