Ukraine and Russia announce major prisoner swap

KYIV (Reuters) - Ukraine and Russia announced their first exchange of prisoners of war in nearly four months on Friday, with 150 people freed after negotiations mediated by the United Arab Emirates.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said 75 Ukrainian prisoners had been returned from Russia. They included four civilians while the rest were members of the military.

Russia's Defence Ministry said Ukraine handed over 75 people in a deal brokered by the UAE, RIA news agency reported.

"After a long pause, another prisoner swap took place: 75 defenders and civilians were released from the enemy's captivity," Ukraine's Coordinating Committee on Dealing with Prisoners of War said.

Pictures released with a statement from the committee showed servicemen draped in blue and yellow national flags.

Ukrainian officials said they brought back 19 defenders of Snake Island, a tiny rocky outcrop in the Black Sea that became a symbol of Ukrainian defiance in the first days of the war when Ukrainian guards refused to surrender to Russian forces.

The committee also said that as a part of the swap, the bodies of 212 Ukrainian defenders were handed over by Russia.

(Reporting by Anastasiia Malenko and Olena Harmash; Editing by Giles Elgood)