(MENAFN) In return for the same number of Russian captives, Russia has announced that 144 Ukrainian troops have been given up to Kiev, claiming that President Vladimir Putin approved of the move.
General Igor Konashenkov, a spokesperson for the Russian Defense Ministry, claimed on Thursday that the exchange, which took place on Wednesday, was "organized and carried out on the direct orders of the Supreme Commander of the Russia Armed Force."
Putin gave the order because, according to Konashenkov, " the lives, the health, the release of our servicemen, the fighters of the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics, who make up the majority of those returned, is the most important task."
He declared that everyone who took part in the POW swap is " wounded or seriously wounded " and has already received the required medical care.
More than 6000 Ukrainian service members have either been arrested by or given themselves up to Russian forces since the war with Kiev erupted four months ago, the spokesperson added.
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