Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has returned from a go to to Turkey, bringing house 5 former commanders of Ukraine’s garrison in Mariupol regardless of a prisoner change final yr beneath which the lads have been meant to stay in Turkey.
Russia instantly denounced the discharge of the lads.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated Turkey had violated the prisoner change phrases and had failed to tell Russia.
The commanders, lionised as heroes in Ukraine, led final yr’s defence of the port, the largest metropolis Russia captured in its invasion.
Hundreds of civilians have been killed inside Mariupol when Russian forces laid the town to waste throughout a three-month siege.
A number of thousand Ukrainian troopers, together with fighters from the ultranationalist Azov regiment, held out within the Azovstal steelworks.
The Ukrainian defenders, who held out in tunnels and bunkers beneath a metal plant, have been lastly ordered by Kyiv officers to give up in Could final yr.
Russia freed a few of them in September final yr in a prisoner swap brokered by Turkish officers, beneath phrases that required the commanders to stay in Turkey till the tip of the struggle.
“We’re returning house from Turkey and bringing our heroes house,” stated Zelenskiy who met Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan for talks in Istanbul on Friday.
“Ukrainian troopers Denys Prokopenko, Svyatoslav Palamar, Serhiy Volynsky, Oleh Khomenko, Denys Shleha. They are going to lastly be with their kinfolk,” he stated on the Telegram messaging app.
Peskov advised Russia’s RIA information company: “Nobody knowledgeable us about this. Based on the agreements, these ringleaders have been to stay on the territory of Turkey till the tip of the battle.”
Peskov stated the discharge was a results of heavy strain from Turkey’s NATO allies within the run-up to subsequent week’s summit of the navy alliance at which Ukraine hopes to obtain a constructive signal about its future membership.
In his remarks, Zelenskiy gave no clarification for why the commanders have been being allowed to return house.
Turkey’s Directorate of Communications didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.
Zelenskiy posted a one-minute video exhibiting himself and different officers shaking palms and hugging the smiling commanders earlier than they boarded a Czech airplane collectively.
Many Ukrainians hailed the information on social media.
“Lastly! One of the best information ever. Congratulations to our brothers!” Main Maksym Zhorin, who’s preventing in jap Ukraine, stated on the Telegram messaging app.
Russia has repeatedly cited the ultranationalist Azov regiment in claiming that it seeks to “liberate” Ukraine from “fascists”.
Australian Related Press