Ukraine: Large exchange of prisoners between Kyiv and Moscow, which mobilizes its reserve

Ukraine: Large exchange of prisoners between Kyiv and Moscow, which mobilizes its reserve

Ukraine and Russia have exchanged military prisoners, the largest since the offensive began in late February, an announcement that comes after Vladimir Putin mobilized hundreds of thousands of reservists to resume his offensive in Ukraine.

“We managed to free 215 people,” said the head of Ukraine’s presidential administration, Andriy Yermak, on Wednesday evening.

In particular, Kiev recovered 188 “heroes” who defended the Azovstal Steelworks in Mariupol, a symbol of resistance to the Russian invasion, and this southern city – including 108 members of the Azov regiment. Five military commanders, including defense chiefs from Azovstal, have been transferred to Turkey, said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

They will remain in that country “in absolute safety and in comfortable conditions” until “the end of the war” under the terms of an agreement with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, according to the Ukrainian leader.

Russia has recovered 55 prisoners, including former MP Viktor Medvedchuk, a close associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin who is accused of treason in Ukraine, Zelenskyy said in his daily address.

The announcement comes hours after Vladimir Putin’s order for the partial mobilization of reservists, which led to impromptu demonstrations in at least 38 Russian cities and the arrest of at least 1,332 people. These are the largest protests in Russia since the Russian offensive in Ukraine was announced.

– “Fair punishment” –

On the United Nations podium, US President Joe Biden attacked Russia, a permanent member of the Security Council, head-on, accusing it of “shamelessly violating United Nations principles” since its offensive in Ukraine.

And after Vladimir Putin threatened to use nuclear weapons, the American President insisted: “A nuclear war is impossible to win and must not be waged”.

A few hours earlier, in an address to the nation, Putin had declared that he was prepared to use “all the means” in his arsenal against the West, which he accused of wanting to “destroy” Russia. “It’s not a bluff,” he assured.

In a videoconference speech at the annual United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, Zelenskyy called for “just retribution” against Moscow, strongly condemned the invasion of his country by Russian forces and called for the establishment of a special court to try Moscow “for its crime of aggression.” to put our state”.

“We will not allow this being to triumph over us,” he said, saying the word “punishment” no fewer than fifteen times.

Great Britain will continue to provide military aid to Ukraine until she defeats Russia, the new British Prime Minister Liz Truss promised on Wednesday evening at the UN General Assembly.

“We will not be silent until Ukraine wins,” she assured, saying that by ordering the mobilization of reservists, Mr. Putin was “trying to justify his catastrophic failure” in Ukraine.

This mobilization has been described in Europe as an “admission of weakness” by Moscow, whose army has suffered setbacks against Ukrainian forces in recent weeks.

An informal emergency meeting of EU foreign ministers on Ukraine took place in New York on Wednesday evening. The head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, said shortly afterwards that the EU was considering new sanctions against Moscow after the mobilization order.

Borell stressed that European ministers adopted a statement condemning “in the strongest possible terms the recent escalation in Russia”. “We will continue to increase our military aid and consider new restrictive measures” against Moscow.

Following a recent meeting dedicated to the safety of civilian nuclear installations in times of armed conflict, the Foreign Ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and Ukraine, as well as the representatives of South Korea and the United States and Switzerland underlined in a joint statement “emphatically that Russia’s seizure and militarization of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant was the main cause of today’s threats to nuclear safety and security”.

“We remind that the increased risk of a nuclear accident will remain dangerously high as long as Russia is present at the Zaporizhia site,” they said.

Ukrainian authorities accuse Moscow of having bombed the Zaporizhia power plant (southern Ukraine), the largest power plant in Europe, again on Wednesday.

The situation at the facility “is still getting worse,” warned International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Rafael Grossi. “We don’t have the luxury of waiting for something catastrophic to happen,” he added.

– “For peace” –

Careful not to announce a general mobilization feared by millions of Russians, Mr Putin on Wednesday decreed a “partial” measure deemed “urgent and necessary”. According to the Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, 300,000 reservists are initially affected.

In a sign of concern from many Russians, airline websites were stormed after Mr Putin’s speech, and an internet petition against the mobilization has already garnered more than 230,000 signatures.

According to OVD-Info, an organization specialized in counting arrests, more than 1,300 people were arrested during demonstrations against the mobilization.

“Everyone is afraid. I’m for peace and I don’t want to have to shoot. But it’s very dangerous to go out now, otherwise there would have been many more people,” said Vasily, a protester in St. Petersburg Fedorov, a student who wears a pacifist emblem on his chest.

The announcement of “referendums” on annexation in Moscow-controlled regions of Ukraine on Tuesday, September 23-27 had signaled a hardening.

Russian military doctrine provides for the possibility of resorting to nuclear strikes when Moscow attacks areas considered Russian, which could be the case with annexed areas.


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