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Zelensky Brings Home Former Commanders From Turkey On 500th Day Of War

Zelensky Brings Home Former Commanders From Turkey On 500th Day Of War


President Volodymyr Zelensky introduced residence from Turkey on Saturday 5 former commanders of Ukraine’s garrison in Mariupol, a extremely symbolic achievement that Russia mentioned violated a prisoner alternate deal engineered final yr.

Russia instantly denounced the discharge. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov mentioned Ankara had promised underneath the alternate settlement to maintain the lads in Turkey and complained Moscow had not been knowledgeable.

In honour of the five hundredth day of the battle, President Zelensky additionally visited Snake Island, a Black Sea outcrop which Russian forces seized on the day of the invasion and later deserted.

The 5 commanders have been lionised in Ukraine after main a fierce three-month defence of Mariupol from the Azovstal metal plant final yr, the most important metropolis Russia has captured.

“We’re returning residence from Turkey and bringing our heroes residence,” mentioned Volodymyr Zelensky, who met Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan for talks in Istanbul on Friday.

1000’s of civilians had been killed in Mariupol when Russian forces laid the town to waste within the first months of the battle. The Ukrainian defenders held out in tunnels and bunkers underneath the Azovstal plant, till lastly ordered by Kyiv to give up in Might final yr.

Moscow freed a few of them in September in a prisoner swap brokered by Ankara, underneath phrases that required the commanders to stay in Turkey till the tip of the battle.

Mr Peskov advised Russia’s RIA information company: “Nobody knowledgeable us about this. In response to the agreements, these ringleaders had been to stay on the territory of Turkey till the tip of the battle.”

Mr Peskov mentioned the discharge was a results of heavy stress from Turkey’s NATO allies forward of subsequent week’s summit of the navy alliance at which Ukraine hopes to obtain a constructive signal about its future membership.

In his remarks, President Zelensky gave no rationalization for why the commanders had been allowed to return residence now. Turkey’s Directorate of Communications didn’t reply to a request for remark.

Because of Turkish President

In a ceremony later alongside the lads within the western metropolis of Lviv, President Zelensky thanked Erdogan for serving to safe their launch and pledged to convey residence all remaining prisoners.

He mentioned that earlier than the outbreak of battle, “many individuals on the planet nonetheless didn’t perceive what we’re, what you’re, what to anticipate from us and what our heroes are. Now everybody understands.”

Many Ukrainians hailed the return of the lads.

“Lastly! The most effective information ever. Congratulations to our brothers!” Main Maksym Zhorin, combating in jap Ukraine, mentioned on the Telegram messaging app.

Referring to a counter-offensive launched by Ukrainian forces up to now month, Denys Prokopenko, one of many 5 commanders, advised the gathering that his males “could have our phrase to say within the battles. A very powerful factor is that Ukraine has seized the strategic initiative and is advancing.”

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken marked the five hundred days by describing Russia as “the only real impediment to a simply and lasting peace” and promising to again Kyiv “for so long as it takes”.

France’s international ministry mentioned the time-frame “should convey Russia to the realisation that it’s in an deadlock and instantly cease its unlawful battle of aggression”.

The newest US pledge of assist included plans to produce broadly banned cluster munitions. Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov promised the munitions wouldn’t be utilized in Russia.

The final workers of Ukraine’s armed forces mentioned Ukrainian forces on Saturday “continued offensive operations” in two sectors within the southeast.

Officers say Ukrainian forces have additionally taken again areas across the shattered jap metropolis of Bakhmut — captured by Russian forces in Might after month after months of battles.

(Aside from the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV workers and is printed from a syndicated feed.)

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