Ukraine war: Russia releases 10 foreign prisoners following Saudi mediation

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman reportedly mediated the release of American, British, Swedish, Croatian and Moroccan nationals.

Russia on Wednesday released 10 prisoners of war captured in Ukraine following a mediation by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a Saudi official said.

A plane landed in Saudi Arabia carrying two American, five British, one Swedish, one Croatian and one Moroccan nationals, the official said, according to Reuters.

The Saudi foreign ministry said in a statement the prisoners’ release was part of a prisoner exchange process between Russia and Ukraine.

The statement credited the success of the mediation to the crown prince’s “continued commitment to humanitarian initiatives towards the Russian-Ukrainian crisis and continued engagement with relevant countries”.

The ministry said that Saudi authorities in Russia arranged the prisoners’ transfer to the kingdom and are facilitating their return to their respective countries.

Russia and Ukraine are engaged in ongoing efforts to secure a prisoner swap. On Tuesday, the warring sides agreed to exchange 200 prisoners in one of the largest swaps of the seven-month war. There are no details on how many prisoners will be released from each side.

The prisoner release comes as Moscow significantly escalates its war on Ukraine, with President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday ordering Russia’s first military mobilisation since World War Two.

With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine flagging, and Ukrainian forces staging a breakthrough counteroffensive in recent weeks, Putin had signed a decree on partial mobilisation of 300,000 reservists, triggering fear that some men who are qualified to serve won’t be allowed to leave the country.

Russians fearful of being conscripted have purchased all direct flights between Moscow and Istanbul for the next three days.

Source: Middle East Monitor

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