Russia and Ukraine exchanged hundreds of prisoners of war Wednesday, officials in both countries said, exactly a week after Moscowcarrying dozens of captured Ukrainian soldiers. Moscow said the plane was brought down by Ukrainian missiles over far-Western Russia on its way to a prisoner swap, killing everyone on board.
The two countries have conducted a number of large prisoner swaps since Russia launched its full-scale, ongoingalmost two years ago, but it wasn't clear until Wednesday whether those exchanges would continue after the plane crash.
Ukraine did not explicitly deny shooting down the Russian plane, but its intelligence directorate accused Moscow of failing to notify Ukrainian authorities of any flight carrying POWs, suggesting Russia may have deliberately put the Ukrainian troops in harm's way amidon Russian territory.
The defense ministry in Moscow said Wednesday that 195 Russian soldiers were freed in the swap, while Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said 207 people, including soldiers and other prisoners, had returned to Ukraine. Russia's defense ministry only noted in its statement that 195 Ukrainian soldiers were included in the swap, without any mention of the other 12 people referred to by Zelenskyy.
"Our people are home," Zelenskyy said in a social media post.
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