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Ukraine, Russia Exchange Hundreds of Prisoners of War
Europe Ukraine

Ukraine, Russia Exchange Hundreds of Prisoners of War

On Wednesday, Russia and Ukraine declared that they had swapped numerous prisoners of war.

Officials from Ukraine reported that 230 of their soldiers were freed by Russia.

The Russian defense ministry announced that 248 soldiers have been released from captivity in Ukraine through a mediation process facilitated by the United Arab Emirates.

During the almost two-year war, the two sides have exchanged prisoners on multiple occasions before.

On Wednesday, the defense ministry of Russia announced that they had successfully intercepted and destroyed 12 Ukrainian missiles over the Belgorod region. This came after a recent Ukrainian attack in the same area resulted in the deaths of 24 people and elicited a promise of increased retaliation from Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

Ukrainian officials reported that on Tuesday, there were significant missile strikes from Russia that resulted in the deaths of at least five individuals and injuries to possibly 130 others in Kyiv and Kharkiv.

The Ukrainian air force reported that Russian forces utilized 35 drones and 99 missiles, which were launched from both air and sea. However, the Ukrainian air defenses successfully intercepted all 35 drones and 72 of the missiles.

Utility workers repair water pipes outside a high-rise building destroyed in a Russian missile attack in central Kyiv, Ukraine, Jan. 3, 2024.

On January 3, 2024, utility workers were fixing water pipes near a tall building that was heavily damaged in a missile strike by Russia in central Kyiv, Ukraine.

On Wednesday, Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski stated that in reaction to the recent attack on Ukraine, allies should increase sanctions against Russia and equip Ukrainian troops with long-range missiles.

Sikorski stated on X, previously known as Twitter, that the missiles would allow Ukraine to target and destroy launch sites and command centers.

On Tuesday, Poland responded to Russian attacks by sending out four F-16 fighter jets to defend its own airspace. This action was taken due to the fact that Poland shares a border with Ukraine.

The office of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan released a statement on Tuesday refuting claims that mine-hunting ships gifted by Britain to Ukraine were permitted to travel through the Turkish Straits and enter the Black Sea.

Last month, Britain announced that it would be sending two Royal Navy Sandown Class ships to Ukraine in order to aid in countering the danger posed by Russian mines. This move will also enable Ukraine to conduct export operations through the Black Sea.

In its official statement, Turkey declared that it has blocked Russian and Ukrainian warships from entering the Turkish Straits since the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine. The country remains firmly committed to its stance of preventing any further increase in tension in the Black Sea during this war.

The Turkish government stated that their allies were informed that the mine-hunting vessels would not be permitted to pass through the Turkish Straits as long as the war is ongoing.

The sources for this report are The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse, and Reuters.