Russia releases 10 foreigners captured in Ukraine, after Saudi mediation, Riyadh says
Russia on Wednesday released 10 foreign prisoners of war captured in Ukraine, following a mediation by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi foreign ministry said. The list includes American, British, Croatian, Moroccan and Swedish nationals, the ministry said in a statement, adding that a plane carrying the prisoners landed in the kingdom.
The list includes American, British, Croatian, Moroccan and Swedish nationals, the ministry said in a statement, adding that a plane carrying the prisoners landed in the kingdom. "The relevant Saudi authorities received and transferred them from Russia to the kingdom and are facilitating procedures for their respective countries," the statement said.
The ministry did not identify the prisoners. A Saudi official said they were five Britons, two Americans, a Croatian, a Morrocan and a Swedish national. Large numbers of foreigners have travelled to Ukraine to fight since Russia's Feb. 24 invasion. Some of them have been caught by Russian forces, along with other foreigners in the country who say they were not fighters.
Reuters could not immediately establish if the released group included Britons Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner and Morocco-born Brahim Saadoun who were captured earlier this year then sentenced to death by a court in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR), one of Russia's proxies in eastern Ukraine. Prince Mohammed has maintained close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin, including within the framework of the OPEC+ oil producers group, despite heavy pressure from Washington, Riyadh's traditional ally, to isolate Russia.
Both Ukrainian and Russian forces have captured hundreds of enemy fighters since the start of the conflict, with a handful of prisoner exchanges having taken place. The head of the U.N. human rights mission in Ukraine said earlier this month that Russia was not allowing access to prisoners of war, adding that the U.N. had evidence that some had been subject to torture and ill-treatment which could amount to war crimes.
Russia denies torture or other forms of maltreatment of POWs.
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