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Ukraine, Russia Carry Out Largest Prisoner Swap Since Start Of Invasion

Russia and Ukraine carried out an unexpected prisoner swap involving almost 300 people on September 21, the largest since the beginning of the war.

Ukraine said that Russia released 215 of its soldiers, including fighters who led the defense of Mariupol's Azovstal steelworks. In exchange, Kyiv turned over 55 prisoners to Russia, including Viktor Medvedchuk, a former Ukrainian lawmaker and ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

According to the Ukrainian president's chief of staff, the exchange of prisoners took place in several stages and in different locations.

Ten prisoners of war including five Britons and two Americans, some of whom had been sentenced to death after being captured in Ukraine and accused of being mercenaries, were transferred from Russia to Saudi Arabia.

Briton Aiden Aslin, captured earlier this year and charged by a separatist-administered court in Ukraine's Donetsk region, flew to the kingdom along with U.S. citizens Alexander Drueke and Andy Huynh, according to the Reuters news agency. The American pair, both from Alabama, were captured in June while fighting in eastern Ukraine where they went to support Ukrainian troops resisting Russia’s invasion.