Ukraine on late Wednesday thanked Türkiye for its role in a prisoner exchange between Ukraine and Russia, hours after the Turkish president announced the swap.
“We are bringing our people home. The exchange has just finished. Today we have 215 pieces of good news. 215!” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a fresh video address.
He said they included five Ukrainian commanders “for whom we had to carry out the biggest, the longest, the most difficult fight. They were threatened with the worst. Five superheroes.”
“Ukraine agreed with Türkiye – I spoke about this with (Turkish) President (Recep Tayyip) Erdogan – that our five commanders who are being released from captivity will be in complete safety, in comfortable conditions and under the personal protection of the President of Türkiye until the end of the war. But we will provide the opportunity for their families to see them,” said Zelenskyy.
In exchange for the five commanders, he said, Ukraine released 55 Russian soldiers.
The 215 released prisoners also included 10 foreign citizens, according to the Ukrainian president.
In a statement, Andriy Yermak, head of the Office of the Ukrainian Presidency, said a total of 108 warriors of the "Azov" regiment are among those released.
“This was the biggest prisoner swap since Feb.24. Now, a healing and treatment process awaits our defenders who are released from captivity,” said Yermak.
Earlier, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that the two nations had exchanged 200 prisoners as a result of Türkiye's mediation and diplomatic exchanges with the leaders of the two countries.
Erdogan told reporters in New York City that the prisoner exchange under Türkiye's mediation was an "important step" towards ending the war between the two countries.