President Volodymyr Zelenskyy congratulated the commanders of the Azov regiment on their return from Russian captivity and thanked everyone involved in the preparation and execution of the exchange operation.
The communication took place in video format, Ukrinform reports with reference to the press service of the head of state.
Five “Azov” are in Turkey along with the head of the main intelligence service of the Ministry of Defense Kirill Budanov and the Minister of the Interior Denis Monastyrsky.
Greetings to you, our boys, our heroes, welcome back. Happy to see everyone after we were alone on the phone. We are extremely proud of what you have done for our state. We are proud of you all,” Zelensky said during a video broadcast featuring the released Azovstal defenders.
The head of state assured that they are currently safe in Turkey, and the next step is their return to their homeland.
The president said the current operation to release prisoners of war has been prepared with lengthy and diligent preparation.
Zelensky expressed his thanks to the President of Turkey, as well as to everyone who has dealt with this issue from the Ukrainian side, in particular the head of the cabinet of President Andriy Yermak, the head of the chief intelligence directorate, Kirill Budanov, the head of of the SBU Vasily Malyuk, the chairman of the State Property Fund Rustem Umerov, the Minister of Internal Affairs Denis Monastyrsky, and also Dmitry Usov and Dmitry Lubinets.
“Thank you guys. I believe this is indeed a great victory for our state and society as a whole. And especially for the families of our defenders, who will be able to see their loved ones in safety,” the president stressed.
The head of state stressed that, according to the information he had, “many inmates were doomed to death, so the release saved their lives.”
He also noted that Ukraine is commemorating all its citizens and will try to save every Ukrainian.
“We will do everything we can to save everyone in Russian captivity. We value every life! This is how we differ from the enemy,” Zelensky emphasized.
“Glory to Ukraine! Mr. President, everything is fine with us, the state of health is satisfactory. Thank you and the whole team,” said Denis Prokopenko, commander of the Azov regiment.
The fighters expressed their gratitude to the team and the Ukrainian people on behalf of all the defenders of Azovstal.
As Ukrinform reported, Ukraine on Wednesday returned 215 Ukrainian defenders and defenders from Russian Federation captivity. Among them are the defenders of Azovstal, commander of the Azov regiment Denis Prokopenko (Radish), his deputy Svyatoslav Palamar (Kalina), commander of the 36th naval brigade Sergei Volynsky (Volyn), senior sergeant of the 36th brigade Mikhail Dianov (known from the photo with an injured hand), Azov press officer Dmitry Kazatsky (“Orest”), chief of the Mariupol patrol police Mikhail Vershinin, doctor Yekaterina Polishchuk (“Bird”) and others.
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