It comes as Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk accused Russia of using women and other civilians as “hostages” and vowed no more barter deals would be conducted without female prisoners
Image: AFP via Getty Images)
Ukraine has secured the release of 14 people from Russian captivity, including a pregnant woman.
The prisoner exchange was carried out on Saturday, when seven soldiers and seven civilians returned home, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk announced.
“Today we conducted a new prisoner exchange,” she wrote in a post on Telegram.
“Fourteen of us are coming home, seven military and seven civilians. One of the military is five months pregnant.”
She did not say how many Russians were transferred.
The two nations have exchanged prisoners several times during the conflict that began with Russia’s invasion on February 24, and on Thursday Ukraine said Russia had extradited 33 soldiers so far.
Future release via Getty Imag)
In an interview with the BBC on Friday, Vereshchuk accused Russian forces of deporting large numbers of civilians to Russia and using them as “hostages”.
“That’s why they captured all these hostages — civilians, women, local government employees, to try and use them,” she was quoted as saying.
“We know that there are more than a thousand hostages there – including almost 500 women,” she said, adding that they were being held in prisons and detention centers.
She said it was particularly difficult to secure the release of women prisoners in the exchanges.
“Now we refuse to hold an exchange without women on the list,” she added.
“That’s how we try to somehow save our women and civilians.”
In the months since the invasion began, there have been widespread reports of sexual violence against Ukrainian women, with girls as young as 14 being attacked by soldiers.
A female victim was murdered and branded with a swastika after being “tortured” and raped, a politician said in April.
The UK government has been accused of “owning” and allowing the violence to happen, with only up to £60m of the £220m in humanitarian aid promised to Ukraine so far.
In a sickening audio clip intercepted by Kiev’s security service, a Russian woman can be heard giving her partner permission to rape Ukrainian women as long as he “doesn’t tell” her.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/pregnant-ukrainian-woman-among-14-26842330 Pregnant Ukrainian woman among 14 people freed from Russian captivity in prisoner swap - World News