Pope Francis reveals he participated in efforts to free 300 Ukrainian prisoners held by Russia

Pope Francis reveals that he participated in efforts to free 300 Ukrainian prisoners held by Russia after Kyiv’s military chief traveled to the Vatican with a list of captives.

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Pope Francis has revealed that he participated in efforts to free 300 Ukrainian prisoners of war held by Russia.

The head of the Catholic Church said he received “Ukrainian emissaries” at the Vatican, including a military chief who brought with him a list “of more than 300 prisoners.”

He made the remarks on September 15, a week before Russia and Ukraine carried out an unexpected prisoner swap, the largest since the war began and involving nearly 300 people.

The pope said, according to the Italian Jesuit magazine Civilta Cattolica: ‘They asked me to do something so that an exchange could be made.

“I immediately called the Russian ambassador to see if anything could be done, if an exchange of prisoners could be expedited,” he added, without elaborating.

Pope Francis has revealed that he participated in efforts to free 300 Ukrainian prisoners of war held by Russia.

Pope Francis has revealed that he participated in efforts to free 300 Ukrainian prisoners of war held by Russia.

Ukrainian soldiers freed in a Russian-Ukrainian prisoner exchange hold the Ukrainian flag near Chernihiv last week.

Ukrainian soldiers freed in a Russian-Ukrainian prisoner exchange hold the Ukrainian flag near Chernihiv last week.

Ukrainian soldiers freed in a Russian-Ukrainian prisoner exchange hold the Ukrainian flag near Chernihiv last week.

Francis has been trying since the beginning of the invasion to open a path of dialogue with Moscow, while condemning a “cruel and senseless war.”

Last week’s prisoner swap came as a surprise, hours after he escalated the war by announcing partial mobilization and threatening nuclear war.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said the exchange, which involved help from Turkey and Saudi Arabia, had been in the works for quite some time and involved intense haggling.

Under the terms of the agreement, 215 Ukrainians, most of whom were captured after the fall of Mariupol, were released.

In exchange, Ukraine sent back 55 pro-Moscow Russians and Ukrainians and Viktor Medvedchuk, the leader of a banned pro-Russian party who faces treason charges.

Prisoners of war from the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics leave the military plane when they arrive at an unknown location in Russia.

Prisoners of war from the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics leave the military plane when they arrive at an unknown location in Russia.

Prisoners of war from the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics leave the military plane when they arrive at an unknown location in Russia.

‘This is clearly a victory for our country, for our entire society. And the main thing is that 215 families can see their loved ones safe and at home,” Zelensky said in a video address.

‘We remember all our people and try to save all Ukrainians. This is the meaning of Ukraine, our essence, this is what distinguishes us from the enemy.’

Zelensky thanked Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan for his help and said that five top Ukrainian commanders would remain in Turkey until the end of the war.

Kyiv had a long and difficult fight to secure the release of the five, he said.

They include Lieutenant Colonel Denys Prokopenko, commander of the Azov battalion that took part in much of the fighting, and his lieutenant, Svyatoslav Palamar.

Under the terms of the agreement, 215 Ukrainians, most of whom were captured after the fall of Mariupol, were released.

Under the terms of the agreement, 215 Ukrainians, most of whom were captured after the fall of Mariupol, were released.

Under the terms of the agreement, 215 Ukrainians, most of whom were captured after the fall of Mariupol, were released.

Serhiy Volynsky, commander of the 36th Marine Brigade, was also released.

The three men helped lead a stubborn weeks-long resistance from bunkers and tunnels beneath Mariupol’s giant steel factory before they and hundreds of Azov fighters surrendered to Russian-backed forces in May.

“We are proud of what you have done for our nation, proud of each and every one of you,” Zelensky said in a video call with the five that was released by his office.

The head of the UN human rights mission in Ukraine said earlier this month that Russia was not allowing access to prisoners of war, adding that the UN had evidence that some had been subjected to torture and ill-treatment that could constitute war crimes.

Russia denies torture or other forms of mistreatment of prisoners of war.

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