Ukrainian servicemen pose on the road as they walk toward their base near the frontline in the Donetsk region on Feb 4, 2023. (PHOTO / AFP)
KIEV/MOSCOW/WASHINGTON – Dozens of Russian and Ukrainian soldiers have been freed following a latest prisoner swap, officials from both sides confirmed on Saturday.
Andriy Yermak, head of the Ukrainian President's Office, said in a Telegram post that 116 Ukrainians returned home, whereas Russia's state news agency TASS said that 63 Russian servicemen were released.
Yermak also said that Russia returned to Ukraine the bodies of two British voluntary aid workers, and a volunteer soldier from Ukraine's International Legion.
Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev said Moscow is ready to use all kinds of weapons to respond to Ukraine's attack on Russia
The exchange came after a negotiation brokered by the United Arab Emirates, marking one of the largest prisoner swaps between the conflicting parties since the start of the conflict.
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As of early January, more than 3,000 Ukrainian soldiers remained in Russia's captivity.
Also on Saturday, Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev said Moscow is ready to use all kinds of weapons to respond to Ukraine's attack on Russia.
"Our response can be anything," Medvedev said in response to a corresponding question.
He added that the response would be swift, hard and convincing, in accordance with Russia's doctrinal documents, including the country's state policy on nuclear deterrence.
Meanwhile, Ukraine and the EU agreed to deepen their relations and cooperation at the 24th Ukraine-EU summit held in Kiev on Friday, according to a joint statement issued following the event.
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The administration of US President Joe Biden also announced Friday an additional round of security assistance for Ukraine with a total value of $2.2 billion.
What's particularly noticeable in the materiel are long-range rockets for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS missile launchers that the United States have provided for Ukraine.