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Biggest prisoner exchange between Ukraine and Russia, including Azov battalion fighters

Biggest prisoner exchange between Ukraine and Russia, including Azov battalion fighters

In a surprise move, Russia and Ukraine on the night from Wednesday to Thursday (22 September) implemented the biggest prisoner exchange since the start of the war between them in February Russia released over a hundred captured Ukrainian fighters in a prisoner exchange, including fighters from the Azov battalion.  In numerical terms, the prisoner swap represents a major victory for Ukrainian morale. Among others, Ukraine got back three commanders who led the last Ukrainian resistance in the port city of Mariupol and over 100 more members of the battalion. A total of 215 Ukrainians have been released. Among them are policemen, border guards, soldiers and pregnant fighters. In a seperate move ten foreigners who were fighting for the Ukrainian side and were captured by the Russians, were released thanks to the mediation of Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia.

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Interview with Ukrainian politician and activist Hanna Hopko: "Russia will not break us"

Interview with Ukrainian politician and activist Hanna Hopko: "Russia will not break us"

One hundred days ago, on 24 February, Russia invaded Ukraine in an attempt to overthrow the country's democratic government and install a puppet regime. This objective failed, but the war goes on, especially in the Donbass region where heavy fighting is taking place. Commonspace.eu interviewed Hanna Hopko, a Ukrainian politician and activist, who previously served as Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Ukrainian Parliament and is today at the forefront of several important humanitarian initiatives. Hopko  speaks about Ukraine's frustration with Europe's long standing failure to appreciate Ukraine properly. She speaks about the heroism of young Ukrainians who are fighting off current Russian aggression, and recalls the loss of some of her own friends who have died in battle or have been imprisoned. Hopko however remains optimistic about the future, referring to the Ukraine Recovery Plan that is already being prepared. She speaks about the country's hopes to be granted EU candidate status later this month: "Ukraine will not except any plan B. Only candidate status.  Our aspiration to apply to EU membership is a result of the long fight of Ukrainians for the right to be part of a free European family. It is based on our achievements in transformations of the country despite Russian continues efforts to break us." Read the interview in full.