The Ombudsman reveals the conditions of stay of the commanders of the Azov regiment in Turkey

The commanders of the Azov regiment, released during the exchange of prisoners between Ukraine and Russia last week, are now staying in good conditions in Turkey.

“They are in good conditions there, under the personal guarantee of, say, the President of Turkey. All the conditions for a normal and safe life have been created for them, as far as possible. And the only condition posed to them as part of the prisoner exchange is a restriction and a ban on returning to Ukraine as the war against the Russian Federation continues in our country,” said Dmytro Lubinets, Commissioner of the Ukrainian Parliament for human rights, during the national telethon, reports a correspondent of Ukrinform.

According to him, this condition made their release possible thanks to the mediation of the Turkish president and the personal assistance of the Ukrainian president.

Lubinets added that he was not aware of any restrictions on the movement of released commanders. In particular, in Turkey they meet, inter alia, with representatives of Ukraine.

When asked if the five commanders of the Azov regiment would be able to speak to Ukrainian journalists, the Ombudsman expressed the view that this would happen, but did not specify the conditions.

The commissioner also stressed that the authorities were tasked with returning absolutely all captives, and public comment on certain processes in the matter can sometimes hamper next steps. He stressed that work on the return of Ukrainian citizens from Russian captivity is ongoing.

“We are constantly working on the release of prisoners of war and civilian captives. Our goal is to free absolutely everyone. This process does not stop, it is permanent. Even when we already have an exchange, we are agreement on next steps,” he said, adding that “some nuances we cannot and will not say publicly.”

At the same time, Lubinets noted that no group of prisoners had priority. Authorities are working on the return of Snake Island service members, National Guard members captured in the Chernobyl area, and other Ukrainian defenders.

Relevant officials are also dealing with the release of civilian captives, some of whom have been sentenced to 15, 17, 19 years in prison in the Russian Federation.

As reported, more than 200 Ukrainian defenders, as well as 10 foreigners who fought alongside the Ukrainian Armed Forces, returned from Russian captivity during the September 21 prisoner exchange.

The five released Azov regimental commanders will remain in Turkey until the end of the full-scale war under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s personal security guarantees.

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Sharon P. Juarez