Russia says it has more than 6,000 Ukrainian prisoners of war

Russia is holding more than 6,000 Ukrainian prisoners of war, the defense ministry said Thursday, a day after the two sides swapped imprisoned soldiers.

“The total number of Ukrainian troops captured or who surrendered is more than 6,000,” Igor Konashenkov, a spokesman for the ministry, said in a statement.

On Wednesday each side received 144 detained soldiers.

Ukraine said 95 of its troops who returned home were those who fought in the Azovstal steel plant in the port of Mariupol, one of the war’s bloodiest battles.

The Ukrainian defense ministry said most of the Ukrainian soldiers had been seriously wounded.

Konashenkov said of the troops returned to Russia: “nearly all of those freed are wounded or gravely wounded. They are receiving necessary medical care.”

His statement marked Russia’s confirmation of the swamp, a day after the pro-Moscow separatist leader in east Ukraine, Denis Pushilin, had done so.

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