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First hours after the exchange: SBGS publishes touching photos of Ukrainian defenders released from Russian captivity

Touching photos after the exchange of prisoners on June 25. Source: SBGS

On June 25, Ukraine returned 90 of its defenders from Russian captivity. Among them were 18 border guards.

For the first time in years of captivity, most of those released were able to hear the voices of their loved ones and breathe freely. Touching photos taken in the first hours after the exchange were published by the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine.

"The first hours after the exchange. Next up is meeting with relatives, rehabilitation and the opportunity to breathe freely again," the SBGS noted.

In the poignant photos by Petro Zadorozhnyi, Ukrainian defenders look exhausted but happy. Some of them are hugging their comrades-in-arms in tight embraces. Some are hearing the voices of their loved ones on their phones for the first time in years. Some of them - and there are many - are immediately examined by doctors. And some cannot hold back tears from the realization that the hell of captivity is over.

First hours after the exchange: SBGS publishes touching photos of Ukrainian defenders released from Russian captivity
First hours after the exchange: SBGS publishes touching photos of Ukrainian defenders released from Russian captivity
First hours after the exchange: SBGS publishes touching photos of Ukrainian defenders released from Russian captivity
First hours after the exchange: SBGS publishes touching photos of Ukrainian defenders released from Russian captivity
First hours after the exchange: SBGS publishes touching photos of Ukrainian defenders released from Russian captivity
First hours after the exchange: SBGS publishes touching photos of Ukrainian defenders released from Russian captivity
First hours after the exchange: SBGS publishes touching photos of Ukrainian defenders released from Russian captivity

As a reminder, as part of the prisoner-of-war exchange, 90 more Ukrainian defenders returned home from Russian captivity on June 25: 32 National Guard soldiers, 18 border guards, 17 representatives of the Navy, 15 soldiers of the Armed Forces and 8 soldiers of the Territorial Defence Forces. The liberated soldiers were captured in the Kherson, Donetsk, Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia and Luhansk sectors.

Among those released are five National Guard soldiers captured at the very beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion, who were guarding the Chornobyl nuclear power plant.

Ukraine also managed to return 59 defenders of Mariupol. Of these, 52 came from Azovstal. However, this time Russia did not give Ukraine a single Azov Regiment soldier; according to the head of the Patrol Police Department of the National Police of Ukraine, Yevhen Zhukov, there are about 900 of them in captivity. The struggle for the release of Azov soldiers and soldiers from all other branches of the armed forces who were captured by the enemy continues.

The exchange was conducted with the participation of the United Arab Emirates.

At the same time, a representative of the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine noted that our country continues to make efforts to release the prisoners.

"As for the exchange, I can say that the operation is ongoing. In the course of this operation, 90 of our defenders have been returned. Everything is being done to ensure that there will be more good news in the near future. And you will definitely hear about it officially," he said.

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