KYIV, Ukraine — Moscow and Kyiv on Monday carried out one of the biggest prisoner swaps of the war so far, exchanging a total of 218 detainees, including 108 Ukrainian women, officials from both sides said.
Andriy Yermak, head of the Ukrainian president’s staff, said there were 12 civilians among the freed women.
“It was the first completely female exchange,” he wrote on the Telegram messaging app, adding that 37 of the women had been captured after Russian forces took the giant Azovstal steelworks in the port city of Mariupol in May.
Separately, Ukraine’s interior ministry said some of the women had been in jail since 2019 after being detained by pro-Moscow authorities in eastern regions.
Denis Pushilin, the Moscow-backed head of the Donetsk region — one of four regions of Ukraine which Russia unilaterally proclaimed as its own territory last month — had earlier said 110 Ukrainians, mostly women, would be freed in turn for the release of 80 Russians he said were “civilian sailors” and 30 military personnel.