Ukrainian residents

In this handout photograph taken and released by La Moncloa (Spanish Prime Minister’s office) on 21 April, 2022, Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez (R) and Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen (C) speak with residents as they visit the city of Borodyanka, ahead of talks with the Ukrainian President. Photo: Borja Puig de la BELLACASA / various sources / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE – MANDATORY CREDIT “AFP PHOTO / BORJA PUIG DE LA BELLACASA / LA MONCLOA”

A pregnant soldier and other 13 Ukrainians freed in prisoner exchange

A pregnant soldier and other 13 Ukrainians have been freed in prisoner exchange with Russia forces, Ukraine said on Saturday

Ukrainian residents

In this handout photograph taken and released by La Moncloa (Spanish Prime Minister’s office) on 21 April, 2022, Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez (R) and Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen (C) speak with residents as they visit the city of Borodyanka, ahead of talks with the Ukrainian President. Photo: Borja Puig de la BELLACASA / various sources / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE – MANDATORY CREDIT “AFP PHOTO / BORJA PUIG DE LA BELLACASA / LA MONCLOA”

Fourteen Ukrainians including a pregnant soldier have been freed in the latest prisoner exchange with Russian forces, Ukraine said on Saturday, without revealing the number of Russians returned to Moscow.

“Today, we carried out a new exchange of prisoners. Fourteen of ours are coming home, seven military and seven civilians. One of the military women is five months pregnant,”

Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said on Telegram.

In an interview with the BBC on Friday, Vereshchuk accused Russian forces of deporting large numbers of civilians into Russia and using them as “hostages”.

“That’s why they captured all these hostages — civilians, women, employees of local councils, to try and use them,”

she was quoted as saying.

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Ukrainians held in Prisons and pre-trial detention centres

“We know there are more than a thousand hostages there — including almost 500 women,” she said, adding that they were being held in prisons and pre-trial detention centres.

She emphasised the difficulty of securing the liberation of women in the exchanges.

“Now we refuse to hold an exchange with no women in the list. That is how we try to somehow rescue our women and civilians,”

she said.

Several exchanges between Moscow and Kyiv have taken place since Russia invaded on February 24.

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