Wives of a number of the scores of Ukrainian fighters launched by Russia in a prisoner swap have described to CNN the disbelief and pleasure of listening to their family members had been launched.
Alina Volovyk, talking with CNN through WhatsApp, described getting a cellphone name from a person she didn’t acknowledge at first as her husband, Artem Volovyk, a Ukrainian Marine who fought on the Azovstal Metal Plant earlier this yr, earlier than all of Mariupol was captured by Russian forces.
“At first, I did not perceive what was occurring and the place he was,” Alina Volovyk recalled. “However he mentioned, ‘Honey, I’m already in Ukraine! There was a swap.’”
“I simply began screaming, my arms had been shaking,” she mentioned. “Now I’m the happiest lady on the planet.”
Russia on Wednesday launched 215 individuals from its custody, together with some international nationals who had been preventing for Ukraine. In alternate, Ukraine launched 55 individuals, in addition to Viktor Medvedchuk, a pro-Russian Ukrainian politician and oligarch, whose daughter is goddaughter to Vladimir Putin.
Among the many 215 individuals launched by Russia had been “188 heroes of Azovstal and Mariupol,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky mentioned in a single day.
The discharge of the Azovstal and Mariupol fighters is a significant coup for Ukrainian morale, given the large position the protection of Mariupol performed within the Ukrainian psyche early within the struggle.
That is the most important single launch of fighters from Mariupol. In a June prisoner swap, Russia launched 144 troopers, amongst whom 95 had defended the Azovstal plant.
Ruslana Volynska, whose husband Serhii “Volyna” Volynskyi, was appearing commander of the thirty sixth Separate Marine Brigade, informed CNN through textual content message that she discovered concerning the swap on the Web.
“Later Serhii referred to as himself, and I heard him. It was boundless pleasure, shock, happiness! All feelings had been blended! I cried with happiness, and couldn’t imagine that today had come,” she mentioned.
An advisor to Mariupol’s Ukrainian mayor, Petro Andriushchenko, who was compelled to depart his metropolis as Russia superior, mentioned on Telegram that Mariupol “rejoices the return of its Heroes to Ukrainian soil. Even within the occupation!”
“I nonetheless cannot imagine it,” Alina Volovyk informed CNN. “It appears to me that it is a dream and I’ll get up quickly. I could not sleep till 5 a.m., as a result of I used to be overwhelmed with feelings.”
“Solely two hours in the past, after I was performing some procuring, I spotted that my husband was at dwelling and began to cry. The one factor I need now’s to hug him as quickly as attainable,” she added.