Ukraine and Russia made an unexpected prisoner exchange. Denis Prokopenko, commander of the Ukrainian Azov regiment, is among those released. He and his fighters defended themselves to the last strength in the bunkers and tunnels of the Azohustal Ironworks in Mariupol.

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The Russians released a face of resistance in Azokhstan.For now, he remains silent about what they did to him in captivity. | | Video: Reuters

“In addition to 200 fighters, five more combat commanders have returned to us, five superheroes,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said on his website, Prokopenko, Suvia Mentioned in addition to Toslav Paramar, Olev Chomenko or the commander of the 36th, Serzhvolinsky. A Marine Infantry Brigade that defended Azovstar with Azov. Kyiv sent his 55 Russians and pro-Moscow Ukrainians to Russia.

In the footage, Prokopenko is visibly tired and depressed. After a long silence, he thanks the head of state for his release. But for now, he remains silent about how the Russians treated him during his four-month imprisonment.

“Emotions are overwhelming. I send you my thanks from all the Marines who defended Azovstar. In the future, when I recover, I will say everything that is on my mind.” , Serhii Volynsky did not come so close.

The liberated Ukrainian commanders had been at the forefront of Ukrainian resistance for weeks at a strategic port in the south of the country. surrendered to the army. “Ukraine made an agreement with Turkey – I spoke with President Erdogan – the five commanders released from captivity are completely safe, in comfortable conditions and under the personal protection of the Turkish president. until the end of the war,” said Zelensky.

The Azov Battalion was originally created in 2014 and one of the leaders of Ukraine’s far-right and neo-Nazi scene was responsible for its birth. The volunteer militia subsequently fought Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country. Over time the group grew into a regiment.

Ukraine says the regiment was reformed, shedding its radical nationalist origins, being integrated into the National Guard and now apolitical. But Moscow has portrayed them as neo-Nazis, and Russian authorities recently designated the regiment a terrorist organization.

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