Russian soldiers return from Ukrainian captivity

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Another 50 servicemen are returning home following the second prisoner swap this week

Moscow and Kiev conducted another major prisoner swap, with some 50 Russian servicemen released on Thursday in exchange for captured Ukrainian troops. The Russian Defense Ministry said they were rescued from “mortal danger,” following a shoking summary execution of Russian POWs last week.

Footage shared by the Russian military on Thursday shows a large group of servicemen shortly after the exchange, sharin their emotions on camera, with some finally being able to talk to relatives on the phone.

While the released soldiers are eager to meet their families, they have to undergo psychological and physical rehabilitation first. One of the servicemen said he was refused medical treatment for four months despite heart problems, while another said he was trying to forget the horrors of captivity.

This was the second prisoner swap between Russia and Ukraine in the span of a week, with the sides trading 36 POWs on Wednesday.

Being a prisoner in Ukraine constituted a “mortal danger” for the soldiers, the Russian military noted in a statement, apparently referring to a variety of mistreatment and outright torture Russian servicemen experienced in the hands of Kiev’s forces.

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Kremlin pledges to find Ukrainians who executed POWs

Last week, shocking videos of a summary execution of Russian soldiers surfaced online, with Moscow accusing Kiev of committing a new war crime. The Russian Defense Ministry said that the killing of unarmed, surrendered soldiers was a “widespread practice” for Kiev’s troops, while the Kremlin has vowed to do everything to bring the perpetrators behind the massacre to justice.

In one of the videos, the Russian servicemen were shown surrendering to Kiev troops and lying down on the ground, before a second clip showed their bodies lying motionless in pools of blood, apparently dead from gunshots to the head. 

Another clip, which is also believed to have been made at the scene, purportedly showed one Russian soldier who refused to surrender and opened fire at the Ukrainians. Kiev claimed that Russian soldiers committed “perfidy” and only imitated a surrender, and as such their execution was justified.

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