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Chechen warlord breaks ranks and fumes at Putin’s POW release

A often staunch ally of President Vladimir Putin has damaged ranks by criticising the Russian chief over a prisoner swap between Moscow and Kyiv. Ramzan Kadyrov claimed he and his colleagues had been significantly stunned by information that about 100 fighters from Ukraine’s Azov Regiment had been returned to Ukraine.

Putin’s Defence Ministry mentioned 55 of its servicemen had been returned to Russia on Thursday within the largest prisoner trade take care of Ukraine because the battle started on February 24.

In its each day briefing, the Ministry mentioned the fighters – from Russia’s armed forces and its proxies within the Russian-backed separatist areas of jap Ukraine – had been transported to Russia by a navy aircraft and had been present process medical checks.

The shock swap concerned nearly 300 folks, together with 10 foreigners and Ukrainian commanders who had led a chronic defence of the port metropolis of Mariupol.

Through the first months of the battle, Chechen troopers conscripted to assist Russian forces clashed with Ukraine’s Azov fighters in Mariupol.

The swap was brokered by Saudi Arabia and got here simply earlier than referendums in components of Ukraine occupied by Russia.

These are more likely to pave the wave for Russia to formally declare the annexation of extra swathes of Ukraine after annexing Crimea in 2014.

In the meantime, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky hailed the senior Ukrainian commanders freed by Russia as a part of the prisoner swap as superheroes.

Below the phrases of the deal which Turkey helped dealer, 215 Ukrainians – most captured after the autumn of the port metropolis of Mariupol – had been launched on Wednesday.

Ten foreigners had been additionally freed following mediation by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has maintained shut ties with Putin.

Amongst them was Briton Aiden Aslin who had been sentenced to demise by a court docket within the DPR.

Professional-Russian separatists mentioned final month the Mariupol commanders would go on trial.

Mr Zelensky mentioned in his nightly video handle: “5 superheroes have been exchanged for 55 of those that deserve neither compassion nor pity.”

He welcomed the broader launch as “a victory for the nation”.

The 5 senior commanders freed embody Lieutenant Colonel Denys Prokopenko and his deputy Svyatoslav Palamar, who’re each of the Azov battalion, which is lionised in Ukraine.

Additionally freed was Serhiy Volynsky, Commander of the thirty sixth Marine Brigade, who in April issued a video message from the place fighters had been holed up in bunkers under the huge metal works in Mariupol.

He mentioned on the time: “That is our attraction to the world. It might be our final. We might have only some days or hours left.”

The 5 commanders will keep in Turkey till the tip of the battle. Mr Zelensky thanked Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan for his assist after what he mentioned had been an extended and troublesome struggle to safe their launch.

The Azov Regiment is reviled by Putin’s Kremlin as a band of Russia-hating neo-Nazis. The battalion denies allegations of fascism, Nazism and racism and says Ukrainians from numerous backgrounds serve in Azov, which is now totally built-in into Ukraine’s armed forces.

The three males had helped lead the weeks-long resistance earlier than they and a whole lot of Azov fighters surrendered in Could to Russian-backed forces.

Mariupol’s seize by Russian forces was a strategic prize for Moscow, though its forces had lowered town to a wasteland after almost two months of siege and heavy bombardment. It meant Putin had a safe, overland route linking the Crimean peninsula with mainland Russia and components of jap Ukraine already held by separatists.


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Daily Express

The Daily Express is a daily national middle-market tabloid newspaper in the United Kingdom. Published in London, it is the flagship of Express Newspapers, owned by publisher Reach plc. It was first published as a broadsheet in 1900 by Sir Arthur Pearson. Its sister paper, the Sunday Express, was launched in 1918.

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