Ukraine conducts largest prisoner swap with pro-Russian militias

This is how the event was described by the Ukrainian military intelligence. Authorities announced that the exchanged prisoners amount to more than 100. The exchange was carried out with the militias of the self-proclaimed people’s republic of Donestk. In other issues around the war, this Wednesday Syria, an ally of Moscow, recognized the self-proclaimed republics of Donbass. Russia, for its part, has strengthened a law to prosecute critics of the Kremlin’s policies.

“Today 144 prisoners from the Donetsk People’s Republic and Russia who were taken prisoner by the enemy are returning home,” said the leader of that territory, Denis Pushilin, on Telegram, a social network where they usually publish their exhibitions.

The separatist leader pointed out that the main objective of the exchange was the “salvation of the fighters who participated in the special liberation operation” of Donbass and that the state of some of these rank-and-file soldiers was “regrettable”, with “serious injuries, amputations of extremities and other complications.

Ukraine’s military intelligence agency announced that of the 144 national soldiers there were 23 officers, 69 with the rank of sergeant and corporal, aged between 19 and 65, describing the fact as the most significant since the beginning of the Russian invasion.

A Ukrainian soldier sits in an ambulance as Ukraine conducts a prisoner exchange on June 29, 2022.
A Ukrainian soldier sits in an ambulance as Ukraine conducts a prisoner exchange on June 29, 2022. © Reuters / Ukrainian Military Intelligence

Of the total, 95 were defenders of Azovstal and, among them, 43 fighters of the ultra-nationalist Azov regiment.

The military entity stressed that “most of the released Ukrainians have serious injuries” and that all of them “received adequate medical and psychological assistance.”

Syria joins the recognition of the self-proclaimed separatist republics

In other issues around the Russian invasion of Ukraine, this Wednesday Syria, a great ally of Moscow, recognized the independence of the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, located in Donbass, in eastern Ukraine. The news was released by the official news agency SANA.

According to SANA, a source from the Syrian Foreign Ministry stated that “embodiing the common will and desire to establish relations at all levels, the Syrian Arab Republic has decided to recognize the independence and sovereignty” of both territories.

The same source stated that talks will begin with both self-proclaimed territories to agree on the points at which ties will be strengthened and diplomatic relations established.

Syria had already given signs of this step. In mid-June, President Bashar al-Assad received a delegation made up of officials from Donetsk and Moscow, with whom he discussed the situation in Donbass.

New law against opponents of the war

The Russian Duma (Lower House) approved a law that will make it easier to label domestic critics as “foreign agents”, a label used since 2012 to identify organizations and individuals allegedly involved in political activities financed by foreign entities.

The approval comes at the most tense moment of confrontation with the West.

According to the president of the Duma, Vyacheslav Volodin, Russia feels “the interference in the internal affairs of both the United States and England” and other nations. The country must defend itself from this.”

File image showing the plenary session of the Russian Duma.
File image showing the plenary session of the Russian Duma. © AFP – Alexander Astafyev

Later, he pointed out that “he who sings in someone else’s voice receives money for it, he must understand: he is a foreign agent.”

However, the text makes it known that people can appear as “foreign agents” even if they have not been paid, since the support can mean other forms of organizational assistance, such as methodological, scientific, technical or of another type according to the law. .

According to the new mandate, which must still go through the approval of the Upper House and be signed by President Putin, the persons indicated cannot receive any type of state financial support.

Currently, the list of “foreign agents” has 167 names, including non-profit organizations, news organizations, journalists and activists.

“You want to join NATO, go ahead”

In the context of the beginning of the accession process of Sweden and Finland to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the Russian president saw no apparent problem with the joining of both nations to the military alliance.

Putin stated that with Stockholm and Helsinki they do not have “the same problems as with Ukraine”. “They want to join NATO, go ahead,” concluded the president in statements to state television.

Putin further stressed that it is inevitable that relations with Sweden and Finland will sour over their future membership in the Atlantic Alliance.

“They must understand that before there was no threat, whereas now, if military contingents and infrastructure are deployed there, we will have to respond in the same way and create the same threats to the territories from which the threats to us are created,” he emphasized. .

“Everything was fine between us,” he later said, “but now there could be some tensions, there certainly will be.” “It is inevitable if there is a threat to us,” the Russian president stressed.

The two new candidates to join NATO will continue with their accession processes after Turkey lifted the veto imposed on them for protecting militants of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, PKK, in its territory, which Ankara considers terrorists.

The impediment fell with the commitment of the three nations (Finland, Sweden and Turkey) to protect each other’s security.

With Reuters and EFE

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Written by Editor TLN

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