Mar 25, 2022 - World

10 Ukrainian sailors freed after prisoner swap with Russia

A satellite image of Snake Island in the Black Sea captured by Maxar Technologies after Russia's invasion on March 13.
A satellite image of Snake Island in the Black Sea captured by Maxar Technologies after Russia's invasion on March 13. Photo: Maxar Technologies

Ten Ukrainian sailors have been freed as part of a prisoner swap with Russia, Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk announced Friday.

Why it matters: Vereshchuk said it was the first prisoner swap between Russia and Ukraine since the start of the monthlong war.

The big picture: The deputy prime minister said Ukraine turned over 10 Russian soldiers and 11 Russian civilian sailors, who were rescued from a sunken ship near Odessa.

  • As part of the swap, Ukraine had also received 19 Ukrainian civilian sailors that Russia captured while they were trying to rescue Ukrainian troops from Snake Island in the Black Sea.
  • The soldiers on Snake Island gained worldwide attention in the early days of the war after telling a Russian war ship tp "Go f**k yourself." They were initially feared dead, but it was later reported by the Ukrainian Navy they were still alive. Axios has not confirmed audio purportedly of the incident.
  • NPR notes that it was not immediately clear if any of the prisoners exchanged were soldiers from the Snake Island outpost.

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