In a major exchange with Russia, 106 Ukrainian prisoners of war have been freed. Amongst them were eight officers who were captured fighting in Bakhmut, a city that Russia claims to have taken but where Kiev forces say they are still present. The release of the prisoners is seen as a victory for Ukraine, especially as many of the prisoners were considered missing until their discovery.
President Volodymyr Zelensky stated, “Everyone on the front line must remember this: The more Russian prisoners we take, the more of our people we will bring back.” This sentiment seems to reflect the ongoing hostility in the region, with tensions continuing to grow between Ukraine and Russia.
Despite the prisoner exchange, there were still reports of casualties. The head of the Wagner Group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, claimed that two American and two Turkish citizens had been killed in Bakhmut. He published a video in which he is seen next to two coffins, one covered with an American flag and the other with a Turkish flag. The US has yet to confirm or deny the claims.
In addition, the transfer of Russian tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus has begun, according to Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. The United States has branded this move as “irresponsible,” and Lukashenko has not specified how many nuclear warheads will be hosted in Belarus.
The ongoing conflict and military posturing in the region serve as a reminder that the situation remains highly volatile. Despite the recent prisoner exchange, it is clear that tensions between Ukraine and Russia are still running high.