Bloomberg: Oligarch Abramovich brokered Russia-Ukraine prisoner swap

    WORLD  24 September 2022 - 09:38

    Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich met Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in late August.

    The meeting ultimately led to a prisoner swap between Ukraine and Russia, Bloomberg reported Friday, citing three sources.

    In a major prisoner swap announced Thursday, Ukraine handed over 55 captives, including pro-Russian tycoon Viktor Medvedchuk.

    In return, Russia turned over 215 Ukrainians, the majority of whom fought to defend the Azovstal steel plant in the besieged city of Mariupol.

    Among the prisoners handed back by Russia were 10 non-Ukrainians — five Brits, two Americans, a Moroccan, a Croat, and a Swede, Bloomberg said.

    In tweets sent Thursday, Ukraine's Foreign Ministry thanked Saudi Arabia for playing an "essential" role in negotiations to free the 10 foreign prisoners, who were flown to Riyadh after their release.

    Saudi Arabia confirmed on Friday that Mohammed Bin Salman had been involved in mediation efforts that led to the release of the overseas prisoners but did not give further details on the process. It also said Russian President Vladimir Putin thanked the prince for his contribution over a phone call.

    The Saudi, Ukrainian, and Russian governments did not immediately respond to separate requests for comment from Insider on the prisoner swap Friday.

    The Sun newspaper reported Thursday that Abramovich was on a private jet used to transport the freed foreign prisoners from Russia to the Saudi capital Riyadh. The newspaper added that Abramovich gave the prisoners each phones to allow them to call home.

    Abramovich attended peace talks between Russia and Ukraine earlier this year. Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged President Joe Biden not to sanction him at the time, saying he may prove useful to the process.

    Not long after the peace talks took place, Zelenskyy said the talks had reached a "dead end because we will not trade our territory and our people."

    Caliber.Az




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