Five British prisoners of war released from Ukraine after being held by Russian forces

Prisoners of war (five British citizens, one Moroccan, one Swede, one Croat, and two Americans) are seen in the tarmac after arriving, following successful mediation efforts by Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, from Russia to King Khalid International Airport, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, September 21, 2022. Saudi Press Agency/Handout via REUTERS

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Five prisoners of war from the UK have been released as part of an exchange between Ukraine and Russia, mediator Saudi Arabia has said.

A statement from Saudia Arabia’s foreign ministry, published on Wednesday, said 10 prisoners of war – from the UK, US, Morocco, Sweden and Croatia – had been released.

Since the war began earlier this year, a number of British nationals had been captured in Ukraine – with the Foreign Office working to support the detainees and their families.

Aiden Aslin, a British fighter who was sentenced to death by a pro-Russian court in a separatist area of Ukraine, is among the five Britons on their way back to the UK, Mr Aslin’s MP confirmed on Wednesday.

This picture, released by SPA, the official news agency of Saudi Arabia, appears to show the POWs landing in Saudi Arabia.Credit: SPA

“I am deeply grateful for the work undertaken by the Ukrainian government, the Saudi Crown Prince, the Prime Minister, and the dedicated civil servants working in the Foreign Office’s Detainees team to bring their horrific ordeal to a close,” Robert Jenrick, who represents the town of Newark, wrote.

“Aiden’s return brings to an end months of agonising uncertainty for Aiden’s loving family in Newark who suffered every day of Aiden’s sham trial but never lost hope. As they are united as a family once more, they can finally be at peace.”

UK prime minister Liz Truss tweeted: “Hugely welcome news that five British nationals held by Russian-backed proxies in eastern Ukraine are being safely returned, ending months of uncertainty and suffering for them and their families.”

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