the private army Wagner of Russia exchanged prisoners of war with Ukraine on Thursday and released video and drone footage showing uniformed men moving from one side to another at an unidentified location.
The chief of staff of the Ukrainian president, Volodimir Zelenskydeclared on Thursday that his country had achieved the release of 106 soldiers captured in a prisoner exchange with Russia.
In the images you can see the founder of the Wagner group, Yevgeny Prigozhinaddressing the returning Russian soldiers.
They are said to include paramilitary fighters, Rosgvardia officers and a fighter from the Akhmat unit.
The Ukrainian soldiers, including eight officers, were captured fighting in the devastated eastern city of Bakhmutwhich Russia claims to have captured, but where kyiv forces claim they still have a small foothold.
Wagner played a key role in the months-long Russian attack on the town of Bakhmut, where fierce fighting was likened by both sides to a “meat mincer”.
Tatyana MoskalkovaRussia’s human rights ombudsman, confirmed that Russia’s Wagner private military unit was involved in a fighter exchange on Thursday, but gave no further details.
Russia launched a full-scale invasion of its neighbor in February 2022. Ukrainian military intelligence claims that 2,430 Ukrainians have been released in prisoner exchanges, including 139 civilians.
Prigozhin announced this Thursday the beginning of the withdrawal of his units from the city of Bakhmut and the transfer of their positions to the troops of the Russian Army.
“We carefully retreat”, Prigozhin said in a video posted on his Telegram channel.
This relief occurs when the Russian army is in trouble on the flanks of Bakhmut . According to kyivlost 20 square kilometers north and south of the city to Ukrainian forces.
It also happens after a raid fighters in the Russian border region of Belgorodwhich Moscow took more than 24 hours to repel, once again highlighting the difficulties of the Russian forces.
On May 21, the leader of the Wagnerites declared that his troops would withdraw as of this Thursday at the training camps in rear areas.
“We transfer the positions to the military, ammunition and even food rations”Prigozhin announced.
He added, ironically, that leave two Wagnerites in case the military needs help to defend their positions.
“Before June 1, we will all meet, rest, prepare, and then we will receive another mission.“Prigozhin told the crew of a tank.
(With information from Reuters, AFP and EFE)
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