Ukrainian soldiers including Mariupol defenders returned in prisoner swap

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By Euronews  with AP & AFP
A group of Russian soldiers sit in a bus after being released in bilateral prisoner swap
A group of Russian soldiers sit in a bus after being released in bilateral prisoner swap   -   Copyright  AP/Russian Defense Ministry Press Service

Moscow and Kyiv carried out a prisoner exchange with both sides handing over 60 individuals on Ukraine's Armed Forces Day on Tuesday. 

58 men and two women were returned to Ukraine, including 15 officers, 45 privates and sergeants. 

According to the Head of the Presidential Administration, Andriy Yermak, some defenders of Mariupol were included.

"Today's 'list of 60' includes 34 of them, including 14 from 'Azovstal," he wrote on his Telegram account.

Ukraine’s top diplomat called on Kyiv’s Western partners to ramp up military aid following the latest round of targeted Russian strikes the previous day. Dmytro Kuleba said in a briefing that Ukraine has a pressing need for air more defence systems.

“Today, it is especially critical to help Ukraine defend itself against Russian missile attacks," he said.

"There is no need to look for excuses and postpone key decisions. It’s time to close the sky over Ukraine, do it with the help of air defence systems, which should arrive in Ukraine in sufficient quantities,” he added.

The minister singled out Germany in his calls on Western allies to provide more weapons and paid tribute to Ukraine's war heroes.

He thanked Berlin for transferring an additional seven Gepard anti-aircraft guns to help Ukraine protect its skies.

“I am grateful to all partner states for their support and understanding that significantly strengthening Ukraine's defence potential is the only way to establish long-term peace and stability in Europe".

Meanwhile, authorities in the Russia-controlled Donetsk claimed that six civilians were killed and at least ten were injured in Ukrainian attacks.

One of the victims was the parliament deputy of the Russian-controlled area, 29-year-old Maria Pirogova, the head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic Denis Pushilin wrote on Telegram.

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