Ukrainian soldiers and civilians return home: Emotional video reveals ex‑prisoner contacting father
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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced on Wednesday the safe return of 207 more Ukrainian citizens who were held captive in Russia. Zelensky confirmed that both civilians and soldiers were included in the recently returned group.
Heartrending conversation of the Ukrainian prisoner
"We remember every man and woman in captivity. (...) We must bring everyone back home. That's what we're working towards," Zelensky stressed in a statement shared on Telegram.
A poignant recording of a Ukrainian soldier's first conversation with his father has been shared online. Until now, the parents were in the dark about whether their son was still alive.
"Yes dad. It's me, I'm alive. I'm in Ukraine. I've been released. I'm in Ukraine. Yes dad, I'm alive. Everything's alright, dad," the Ukrainian soldier repeats, his voice trembling with emotion.
In the background, the soldier's father can be heard, clearly moved by the phone call. The soldier also wished to speak with his mother, who was at work at the time.
"I'll call her immediately," the father assured, struggling to contain his overwhelming emotions.
Gratitude towards Budanov and Yermak
President Zelensky extended his gratitude to key figures, including the head of Ukrainian Military Intelligence (HUR), Gen. Kyrylo Budanov, the head of the Office of the Head of State, Andriy Yermak, and the head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), Gen. Vasyly Maluk, for facilitating the return of the prisoners.
"To date, 49 prisoner exchanges have occurred. 2,828 individuals have returned home, comprising of 2,681 soldiers and 147 civilians. As of today, over 8,000 people, including more than 1,600 civilians, remain captive," reported Yuriy Taraniuk, a representative of the Ukrainian coordinating staff for the exchange of war prisoners, on January 24.