Ukraine’s first lady on Tuesday met with five Ukrainian servicemen, who were among those captured by Russian forces at the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol and brought to Turkiye after a prisoner exchange was held between Ukraine and Russia in September. SIA refers to Anadolu Agency.
“Met with Azov heroes in Turkiye – expressed gratitude for the striving and resilience. Andriy Yermak helped in arranging a meeting with their families,” Olena Zelenska said on Twitter.
“It is an important day, but there is still a long way to go. Ukraine will fight for freedom and returning of each person back home,” Zelenska said.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy welcomed the recent meeting in a fresh video address.
“Finally, we managed to organize a meeting of our boys, commanders from Azovstal, with their relatives. The meeting is in Turkiye, where our warriors stay in accordance with the agreement on their release,” Zelenskyy said.
“They are completely safe -- with the guarantees of President of Turkiye Erdogan. They are provided with proper conditions. And now they can see their relatives,” Zelenskyy added.
“They have not seen each other for many months. And now I thank everyone who made it possible for them to be with their families again,” he added.
Turkiye played an instrumental role in a deal that led to Moscow releasing 215 Ukrainian soldiers in exchange for 55 Russian servicemen last month.
Hailed in Ukraine as the “defenders of Azovstal,” the five Ukrainians are in Turkiye under the personal guarantees of protection by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, according to a statement from the Ukrainian presidential office.
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