Photos: Russia and Ukraine swap women prisoners for sailors

    A freed woman prisoner in Zaporizhzhia, 17 October

    Russia has exchanged 108 Ukrainian women held as prisoners of war for 110 Russian captives held by Ukraine, officials on both sides say.

    Of the women, 37 were reportedly captured after surrendering at the siege of the Azovstal steel works in Mariupol, which ended in May.

    Most of the Russians freed are sailors from merchant ships held in Ukraine.

    Freed prisoners

    They also include members of pro-Russian separatist military units from the Donbas in eastern Ukraine.

    Daylight photos were released of the Ukrainian women boarding coaches in an unspecified area and later of them arriving after dark in government-held territory in the southern region of Zaporizhzhia.

    The Ukrainian presidency’s chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, confirmed on social media that 108 women had been released in the “first all-female exchange”.

    He said they included mothers and daughters who had been held captive together. All but 12 of them are servicewomen, he said.

    Freed prisoners

    Denis Pushilin, the top Russian-backed official in the breakaway part of Ukraine’s Donetsk region, confirmed the swap, but said two detainees had decided to remain in Russia.

    According to Mr Pushilin, the prisoners freed by Ukraine are 80 sailors and 30 service personnel.

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