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REUTERS Guglielmo Mangiapane
REUTERS Guglielmo Mangiapane
REUTERS Guglielmo Mangiapane
REUTERS Guglielmo Mangiapane
World News

Pope Francis reveals his involvement in efforts to release over 200 Ukrainian prisoners held by Russia

by Alex Collett

Pope Francis has stated that he was involved in efforts to release 200 Ukrainian prisoners held by Russia.

The Pontiff said he received "Ukrainian emissaries" at the Vatican, including a military chief who gave him a list "of more than 300 prisoners."

He made the comments on 15th September 2022, a week before Ukraine and Russia carried out an unexpected prisoner swap, the largest since the war began and involving almost 300 people.

According to the Italian, Jesuit magazine, Civilta Cattolica, Pope Francis said: "They asked me to do something so that an exchange could be made.

"I immediately called the Russian ambassador to see if something could be done, if an exchange of prisoners could be expedited,' he added, without providing any further details."

President Volodymyr Zelensky said the swap - which involved help from Turkey and Saudi Arabia - had been under preparation for quite a long time.

In line with the terms of the deal, a total of 215 Ukrainians were released.

As part of the exchange, Ukraine sent back 55 Russians and pro-Moscow Ukrainians. 

In a video address President Zelensky said: "This is clearly a victory for our country, for our entire society and the main thing is that 215 families can see their loved ones safe and at home. 

"We remember all our people and try to save every Ukrainian. This is the meaning of Ukraine, our essence, this is what distinguishes us from the enemy."

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