Mocobizscene-On Wednesday, Russia and Ukraine conducted a significant exchange of prisoners of war, marking the largest release of captives since Russia’s extensive invasion in February 2022.
In a significant development, Ukrainian authorities have announced the safe return of 230 Ukrainian prisoners of war. This marks the first exchange of prisoners in nearly five months, bringing hope and relief to the families and loved ones of the returned individuals.
According to the United Arab Emirates, the deal they sponsored has resulted in the release of 248 Russian servicemen, as confirmed by the Defense Ministry of Russia.
The successful swap was attributed to the “strong friendly relations between the UAE and both the Russian Federation and the Republic of Ukraine, which were supported by sustained calls at the highest levels,” according to the UAE’s Foreign Ministry.
Despite facing Western sanctions and international pressure following its invasion in 2022, Russia has continued to maintain strong economic relations with the UAE.
Dmytro Lubinets, Ukraine’s human rights ombudsman, confirmed that this prisoner exchange marked the 49th one to take place during the ongoing war. Several Ukrainians had been detained since 2022, including those who participated in significant battles for Ukraine’s Snake Island and the city of Mariupol.
The Russian officials did not provide any further information regarding the exchange.
Russia claimed on Wednesday that it successfully intercepted 12 missiles that were fired towards one of its southern regions bordering Ukraine. This incident occurred as Kyiv’s forces aimed to undermine the Kremlin’s position and challenge President Vladimir Putin’s assertion that life in the region is unaffected by the ongoing conflict.
According to regional Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov, the situation in the border city of Belgorod remains tense after experiencing two rounds of shelling on Wednesday morning.
According to the official, the air defense systems successfully carried out their duties. He assured that he would provide further information on any potential damage once he personally examined the area later in the day. It is important to note that this inspection is taking place during Russia’s New Year’s holiday week.
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, Ukraine launched a total of two Tochka-U missiles and seven rockets at the region on Tuesday night. This was followed by an additional six Tochka-U missiles and six Vilkha rockets on Wednesday.
The Tochka-U missile system, which was manufactured by the Soviets, has an impressive range of up to 75 miles. Additionally, its warhead is capable of carrying cluster munitions.
Ukraine has received a supply of cluster munitions from the United States. Additionally, the Tochka-U and Vilkha have the capability to utilize their own cluster munitions.
In recent days, there has been a surge in attacks targeting the Russian side of the frontier.
Ukrainian artillery fire, rockets, mortar shells, and drones launched from thick forests have sporadically targeted border villages throughout the war. These attacks are difficult to detect due to the dense foliage.
In recent events, Ukraine’s troops have retaliated against Russia’s aggressive actions by targeting Belgorod’s regional capital, situated approximately 60 miles north of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city.
Belgorod, a city with a population of approximately 340,000, stands as the largest Russian city in close proximity to the border. It offers easy accessibility, making it reachable even with simple and flexible weaponry like multiple rocket launchers.
On Saturday, a devastating attack on Belgorod claimed the lives of 25 individuals, including five innocent children. This shelling incident stands as one of the deadliest assaults on Russian territory since Moscow’s complete invasion. Tragically, another civilian lost their life on Tuesday as a result of a fresh salvo.
By targeting Belgorod and causing disruption to the city, Ukraine is demonstrating its ability to retaliate against Russia, despite being outnumbered and outgunned by the Russian military.
The strategy seemed to be yielding some positive results, as there are indications that the attacks are causing unease among the general public, political figures, and military experts.
In response to the recent attacks by Ukraine, Putin expressed strong condemnation on Monday. He emphasized that their actions were aimed at intimidating Russia and sowing unrest within the nation. Furthermore, he pledged to escalate countermeasures in order to protect the country’s interests.
In response to a soldier’s inquiry about civilian casualties in Belgorod, Putin expressed his own sense of simmering anger.
Russian military bloggers have expressed regret over Moscow’s decision to withdraw from the border area in September 2022, as Kyiv launched a rapid counteroffensive. They argue that additional territory must be captured in order to secure Belgorod and other border areas.
Russia labels Ukrainians as “terrorists” who target residential areas without discrimination, while maintaining that their own strikes are solely directed at military facilities and armaments factories. However, there is substantial evidence demonstrating that Russia is indeed targeting Ukrainian civilian locations.
Ukrainian officials seldom admit to being responsible for strikes on Russian territory.
Local officials reported that on Wednesday, the city of Zeleznogorsk in a Russian border region experienced a temporary power grid disruption due to Ukrainian shelling. The city of 100,000 people in the Kursk region had to temporarily close an electricity substation due to the need for repairs following an aerial attack, according to Kursk Governor Roman Starovoit on Telegram.
According to him, residents experienced a power outage and were left without power or heat. However, electricity was restored in most parts of the city approximately two hours later. In recent times, Russia has significantly escalated its attacks on Ukrainian cities, employing the use of Kinzhal missiles, capable of soaring at speeds ten times faster than sound itself.
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