Ukraine-Russia Prisoner Swap First Since Moscow Invaded

Ukraine and Russia’s exchange of war prisoners Thursday was the first since Moscow invaded Ukraine one month ago.

A group of 10 Ukrainian soldiers on Snake Island, Ukraine, who were initially thought to have been killed after defying a Russian warship were freed in the prisoner swap, along with 10 Russian soldiers.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy ordered the swap.

The exchange also freed 19 Ukrainian civilian sailors who were captured as their ship tried to take the troops off Snake Island.

Iryna Vereschuk, deputy prime minister of Ukraine, announced the transfer in a Thursday Telegram post.

The 13 soldiers on Snake Island were taken captive in late February by Russian occupiers. Ukrainian officials originally announced that the soldiers had been killed after Russian forces opened fire with barreled gunships and airstrikes.

The story made international headlines after an audio clip surfaced between the soldiers and Russian forces.

A voice was heard saying: ”This is a Russian warship. I propose you lay down your weapons and surrender to avoid bloodshed and unnecessary victims. Otherwise, you will be bombed.”

The Ukrainians replied, ”Russian warship, go f*** yourself.”

After the clip went viral, Zelenskyy promised to decorate the presumed dead border guards with the country’s highest honor.

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