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Putin ally Medvedchuk, 55 servicemen freed in swap with Ukraine

President Vladimir Putin’s ally Viktor Medvedchuk and 55 servicemen had been handed over to Russia in a record-high prisoner swap with Kyiv, a pacesetter of Moscow-backed separatists in jap Ukraine confirmed Thursday.

“Fifty-six individuals had been launched, 55 of them servicemen… Viktor Medvedchuk was additionally launched from captivity,” Denis Pushilin informed the state-run RIA Novosti information company, referring to the previous Ukrainian lawmaker, who was accused of excessive treason.

Medvedchuk, 68, is one among Ukraine’s richest individuals and says Putin is the godfather to his youngest daughter. 

He was captured by Ukraine’s particular forces in mid-April after escaping from home arrest.

Russia’s defence ministry stated earlier that the launched servicemen have been transported to Russia and “are in medical establishments of Russia’s defence ministry”. 

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It claimed in a press release that the launched prisoners had been “in mortal hazard” whereas in captivity. 

It didn’t point out the whereabouts of Medvedchuk. 

The defence ministry launched a video of what it stated had been the freed servicemen, exhibiting males in army uniform disembarking a airplane through the evening.

Following the alternate introduced on Wednesday, Ukraine acquired 215 individuals, together with fighters who led the defence of Mariupol’s Azovstal steelworks that turned an icon of Ukrainian resistance.

“We had been prepared to just accept such a value, we gave away 215 individuals, together with a few of them… battle criminals,” Pushilin stated, possible referring to fighters of the Azov regiment, a former volunteer battalion that was included into Ukraine’s military. 

Azov fighters are hate figures for Russia’s state media and officers, who demonise them as “neo-Nazis” and have known as to place them on trial. 

“However the job was to return our guys as quickly as doable,” Pushilin added. 

Additionally within the assertion, the defence ministry’s every day briefing, Moscow accused Kyiv of “provocations” on the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear energy plant in southern Ukraine “aimed toward making a menace of a man-made catastrophe”. 

It stated that over the previous 24 hours, Ukraine repeatedly shelled the close by metropolis of Energodar and the territory close to the plant, Europe’s largest nuclear facility, including that radiation ranges had been “regular”. 

The plant has been a sizzling spot for considerations of a nuclear incident after tit-for-tat claims of assaults there.

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