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Live blog: Putin ally freed in prisoner swap – Ukraine separatists

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Live blog: Putin ally freed in prisoner swap - Ukraine separatists

Ukraine confirms the exchange of a record 215 imprisoned soldiers with Russia and a Kiev government official says Russia‘s attack has caused almost $1 trillion of damage, as fighting continues on the 211th day. Ukraine says it is beginning work to demine 12,000 square km (4,633 square miles) of territory wrested back from Russian control in the eastern Kharkiv region. (AA) Thursday, September 22, 2022

Putin ally Medvedchuk freed in swap with Ukraine: Separatists

A leader of Moscow-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine has confirmed the release of President Vladimir Putin's ally Viktor Medvedchuk in a prisoner swap with Ukraine.

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“Fifty-six people were released, 55 of them servicemen…Viktor Medvedchuk was also released from captivity,” Denis Pushilin told the state-run RIA Novosti news agency, referring to the former Ukrainian lawmaker, who was accused of high treason.

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Moscow says 55 servicemen from Ukraine prisoner swap now in Russia

Russia has said that 55 servicemen released in the largest prisoner exchange with Kiev since the start of Moscow's military campaign in Ukraine are now in Russia.

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“All servicemen have been delivered to the territory of the Russian Federation by military transport aircraft and are in medical institutions of Russia's defence ministry,” the ministry said in a statement.

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It said that the released prisoners were “in mortal danger” while in captivity. “They are receiving the necessary psychological and medical assistance,” it added

Five UK prisoners released by Russia arrive in Britain: BBC

Five UK prisoners of war who were released by Russia as part of an exchange with Ukraine have arrived in Britain, non-profit organisation Presidium Network was reported as saying by the BBC on Thursday

The five are Aiden Aslin, Shaun Pinner, John Harding, Dylan Healy and Andrew Hill

Presidium Network, which says it carries out evacuations of families and individuals from war zones and which has been supporting the family of Healy, said: “We know that all are back safety in the UK”, according to the BBC

Russian offensive has cost Ukraine '$1 trillion'

Russia's offensive in Ukraine has caused almost $1 trillion of damage, a Kiev government official has said, as the conflict batters the country's economy

In terms of “direct and indirect costs” Ukraine had suffered “somewhere close to $1 trillion” in damages, said Oleg Ustenko, economic advisor to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy

The figure was equivalent to five times Ukraine's annual GDP before the invasion in February, Ustenko said at an event hosted by the German Council on Foreign Relations in Berlin

Pro-Russia separatists say at least six killed in shelling of Donetsk market

Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine say at least six civilians have been killed and six more injured in a missile strike on a market in the centre of Donetsk

Ukraine's military are firing on the centre of Donetsk,” the military headquarters of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) said in a post on social media

“According to the information received, six people were killed and six people were injured,” Alexei Kulemzin, the Russia-appointed mayor of Donetsk, said in a post on his Telegram channel

More than 1,300 people arrested for taking part in anti-mobilisation protests in Russia — rights group pic.twitter.com/WlyDOrXKvW

TRT World Now (@TRTWorldNow) September 22, 2022 Ukraine allies must stand firm against Russian blackmail: Macron

Ukraine's allies must stand firm against Russian President Vladimir Putin's “blackmail” of suggesting that nuclear weapons could be used in the offensive against Kiev, French President Emmanuel Macron has said in an interview

“Our task is to hold our line, that is to say, help Ukraine as we are doing, to protect its territory and never to attack Russia,” Macron told BFM television on Thursday during his return from the UN General Assembly in New York

Russia is very clearly under pressure” but “I am not going to take part in any escalation” of the conflict, Macron added

OSCE slams ‘climate of fear, intimidation’ in Russia

The world's largest security body said that laws enacted by Russia's government have created a “climate of fear and intimidation” that has curtailed the work of journalists and activists

The new report on Thursday commissioned under the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) noted “repression has gradually intensified since 2012… and reached its peak with the new reform laws adopted after the beginning of the war” in Ukraine

According to the report, “a climate of fear and intimidation” had been created through the use of criminal law, violence against civil society activists and media, propaganda and other tactics

Uzbekistan warns citizens not to join foreign armies amid Ukraine conflict

Uzbekistan's state prosecutors have warned citizens against joining foreign armies after Russia offered fast-track citizenship to those who sign up and Ukraine said it had captured Uzbeks fighting alongside Russians

Those fighting in military conflicts abroad faced criminal prosecution under Uzbek law, the Central Asian nation's Prosecutor General's office said in a statement late on Wednesday

A video circulated in Ukrainian social media this month showed two Uzbeks captured in fighting between Ukrainian and Russian forces; the detainees said they had been recruited in Moscow

Finland’s border guard says traffic on border with Russia increasing

Traffic arriving at Finland's eastern border with Russia “intensified” overnight, the Finnish Border Guard said on Thursday, while adding that the situation was under control

Finland is closely monitoring the situation in its neighbour after President Vladimir Putin's order of military mobilisation for the military campaign in Ukraine, Defence Minister Antti Kaikkonen said on Wednesday

Finnish land border crossings have remained among the few entry points into Europe for Russians after a string of Western countries shut both physical frontiers and their air space to Russian planes in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine

Hungary PM Orban says EU’s Russia sanctions should be scrapped: Report

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban told his ruling Fidesz party that sanctions against Russia imposed by the European Union should be scrapped, the pro-government daily Magyar Nemzet has reported

Orban, a harsh critic of EU sanctions on Moscow over its offensive in Ukraine, made the remarks at a closed-door meeting of his party members on Wednesday, before the start of the autumn political season

Magyar Nemzet cited Orban as saying — without giving a source — that the EU sanctions have driven up gas prices and inflation, and if these measures were to be scrapped, gas prices would drop by 50% immediately while inflation would also fall

Russia says it has list of foreign banks who can only sell assets with Putin’s approval

Russia's Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev has said that government officials have drawn up a list of foreign banks that will only be allowed to sell their Russian assets with approval from President Vladimir Putin

The list was drawn up by the finance ministry and Russia's central bank, Moiseev told a banking conference on Thursday in the central city of Kazan

Moiseev also said that the finance ministry had not received any information from Expobank about a request to purchase the Russian assets of any foreign bank

Czechia calls on Russia to ‘immediately’ cease its military actions in Ukraine

Czechia’s foreign minister urged Russia to end its attack against Ukraine in a speech  at the 77th UN General Assembly in New York City

Jan Lipavsky said “Russia must immediately cease its military actions and withdraw all its troops from the entire territory of Ukraine,” said FM Lipavsky on Wednesday

Criticising Russia for its “complete disregard for the resolutions” adopted by the UN General Assembly, Lipavsky said it is “appalling.”

Zelenskyy: Russia not serious about ending Ukraine conflict

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has suggested that Russia's decision to mobilise some reservists showed that Moscow isn't serious about negotiating an end to its nearly seven-month-long war

Speaking by video to the UN General Assembly meeting of world leaders hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin's announcement, Zelenskyy insisted his country would prevail in repelling Russia's attack and forcing its troops out, and also urged the United Nations to strip Russia of its veto power on the Security Council

Zelenskyy suggested any Russian talk of negotiations is only a delaying tactic, and that Moscow's actions speak louder than its words. “They talk about the talks but announce military mobilisation. They talk about the talks but announce pseudo-referendums in the occupied territories of Ukraine,” he said

Erdogan: Russia, Ukraine swap 200 POWs under Türkiye's mediation

Ukraine and Russia have exchanged more than 200 prisoners of war as a result of Türkiye's mediation and diplomatic traffic conducted with Russia and Ukraine's presidents, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced

Erdogan told reporters in New York City on Wednesday that the prisoner exchange under Türkiye's mediation was an “important step” towards ending the conflict between the two countries

“I would also like to thank all my friends who contributed to this process,” he said while thanking his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin and Ukraine's leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy

Ukraine releases pictures of five of its sodliers captured by Russia. They were brought to Türkiye to be transferred to Ukraine under the Ankara-brokered swap deal

More here: https://t.co/R35wEfIUix pic.twitter.com/MHIcsvqH1s

TRT World Now (@TRTWorldNow) September 21, 2022 Ukraine confirms exchange of 215 prisoners of war

Ukraine has confirmed the exchange of a record-high 215 imprisoned soldiers with Russia, including fighters who led the defence of Mariupol's Azovstal steelworks that became an icon of Ukrainian resistance

“We have managed to liberate 215 people,” the Ukraine presidency's chief of staff Andriy Yermak announced on television

For live updates from Wednesday (September 21), click  here

Source: AP