Ukraine’s Zelenskiy: Clergy Among 10 Civilians Released from Captivity in Russia and Belarus

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy announced on Friday that ten civilians were finally handed back to Ukraine after enduring years of captivity in Russia and Belarus.

Despite numerous obstacles, the Ukrainian government managed to secure the release of these individuals.

Zelenskiy expressed his gratitude to the team responsible for the successful negotiation and highlighted the crucial role played by the Vatican.

The return of these civilians was part of a more extensive exchange of prisoners of war conducted earlier in the week, where each side exchanged 90 detainees.

While Russia remained silent on the matter, Ukraine did not disclose any information regarding the release of Russian captives.

Among those freed was Nariman Dzhelyal, the deputy head of the Crimean Tatar assembly, who had been detained by Russian forces since 2021.

Two eastern rite Catholic priests who were captured in the occupied port of Berdiansk on the Sea of Azov were also among those liberated.

Additionally, five civilians had been held in Belarus, which had supported Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine by providing strategic territory.

Two other civilians, a man and a woman, had faced charges of espionage and treason in eastern Ukraine since 2017 and 2018, respectively, where Russian-financed separatists held control since 2014.

Dmytro Lubinets, Ukraine’s parliamentary commissioner for human rights, hailed the return as a historic moment for Ukrainian families and expressed optimism that more such releases would follow.

This joyous news offers hope to countless Ukrainian families still awaiting the return of their loved ones.

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