Russia releases 10 PoWs: Saudi Arabia

·2-min read

Russia has released 10 prisoners of war captured in Ukraine following a mediation by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi foreign ministry says.

The list includes United States, United Kingdom, Swedish, Croatian and Moroccan citizens, the ministry said in a statement, adding that a plane carrying the prisoners landed in the kingdom.

"The relevant Saudi authorities received and transferred them from Russia to the kingdom and are facilitating procedures for their respective countries," the statement said.

UK Prime Minister Liz Truss on Wednesday said she welcomed the release of five citizens captured in Ukraine.

"Hugely welcome news that five British nationals held by Russian-backed proxies in eastern Ukraine are being safely returned, ending months of uncertainty and suffering for them and their families," she said on Twitter.

"Russia must end the ruthless exploitation of prisoners of war and civilian detainees for political ends."

A family representative told Reuters on Wednesday that Russia has released US citizens Alexander Drueke, 39, and Andy Huynh, 27, in a prisoner exchange.

The pair, both from Alabama, were captured in June while fighting in eastern Ukraine where they went to support Ukrainian troops resisting Russia's invasion.

Drueke and Huynh were believed to be the first US citizens confirmed captured by Russia's forces in eastern Ukraine when they were reported missing in mid-June.

There was no official comment from Russia on the release.

Both Drueke of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and Huynh of Hartselle, Alabama, had served in the US military.

After they were captured by Russian forces, the two were detained in the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR), a Russian-backed separatist regime in eastern Ukraine.

Russian state TV filmed interviews with the pair in which they said they had changed their opinion about the war since being sent to fight, in clips their family said were clearly coerced and being used for propaganda purposes.