Swede Mrikizi, an American veteran, is released in a prisoner exchange between Ukraine and Russia


A senior Ukrainian official announced Wednesday the release of Swede Murikizy, a US Air Force veteran whose family says pro-Russian separatists fought in Ukraine earlier this year, in a prisoner exchange.

Morekizi, who has been living in Ukraine since 2018, was occupied by pro-Russian forces in the southern city of Kherson in early June, According to his brother, Sele Moriquiziwho added that he was falsely accused of participating in pro-Ukraine protests.

Andriy Yermak, Head of the Presidential Office of Ukraine, wrote on Twitter On Wednesday, Morekizy was released along with 64 Ukrainian prisoners of war who had been fighting in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. He described Mrikizi as “an American citizen who has helped our people.” Yermak added that the bodies of four other Ukrainians were also returned.

When he spoke to his brother in July, Celi Morekizi said, he mentioned that he was being held in the separatist Donetsk People’s Republic, along with other US citizens.

An Air Force veteran was arrested by pro-Russian separatists, his brother said

Born in Rwanda, Swede Murikezi came to the US as a teen and spent eight years in the Air Force, according to his brother. He later moved to Ukraine and settled in Kherson – the first major city to fall to Russian forces after the invasion on 24 February, and which had recently been recaptured by Ukrainian forces.

In September, several foreign nationals, including two American veterans, five Britons, and a Moroccan national, They were among 300 prisoners released by Russia in a prisoner exchange. Three of the foreign prisoners have already been sentenced to death.

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1,456 prisoners were released from Russian captivity or Russian-controlled territory Since the conflict began, Andrei Yusov, a spokesman for the Ukrainian Coordinating Headquarters for the Treatment of Prisoners of War, told The Post on Wednesday.

As the pace of prisoner exchanges between Russia and Ukraine has accelerated in recent weeks, reports have emerged of the abuse detainees faced while in Russian captivity.

One prisoner of war told the newspaper He was beaten so badly that his ribs were broken and his kidneys severely injured.

As Ukraine and Russia intensify prisoner exchanges, scarred prisoners of war speak out about abuses

News of the latest prisoner exchange comes days later WNBA star Brittney Grenier Moscow released him in exchange for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout. The US is also trying to secure the release of another US citizen, Paul Whelanwho was detained in Russia four years ago and sentenced to 16 years in prison on espionage charges that Washington denounced as fictitious.

Marisa Iate and Annabelle Timsit contributed to this report.

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