As a result of the exchange of prisoners of war, 215 servicemen of the Azov regiment returned to Ukraine. In addition to Medvedchuk, another 55 Russian servicemen have been returned to Russia.
Among those who returned from Russian captivity were the commanders of the Azov Regiment and the 36th Marine Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The head of the Mariupol patrol police Mikhail Vershinin, paramedic Ekaterina Polishchuk ‘Ptashka’ and senior sergeant of the 36th brigade Mikhail Dianov were released from captivity – personalities are largely legendary for Ukraine.
Another 30 Russian prisoners of war will be handed over later.
The Azov regiment and infantrymen of the 36th brigade defended the besieged Mariupol for 2 months. As a result of the agreements reached, the defenders of the Azovstal plant received an order to surrender and were in a concentration camp in the village of Yelenovka, which was fired upon. Then at least 54 soldiers of ‘Azov’ died.
However, the military administration of the occupied Mariupol had even more bloodthirsty plans. In early August, iron cages were erected in the Mariupol Philharmonic Hall for a show trial of the Azov fighters.
These plans were not destined to come true.
In mid-April, pro-Russian MP and oligarch Viktor Medvedchuk, who according to some reports is a relative of Putin, was detained in Ukraine, who escaped from house arrest.
There were many rumors about a possible exchange of Medvedchuk, but Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov denied the possibility of an exchange. This, as always, turned out to be a lie.
The Russian pro-government media are outraged by the exchange of prisoners of war, because according to Russian propaganda, the Azov fighters are neo-Nazis.
Militarists and ultra-fascists in Russia believe that Putin spat in their faces with this exchange. It is unlikely that Putin will exchange the relatives of the jingoists who have been captured with the same determination.