Incredible ‘Bridge Of Spies’ moment as 100 Ukrainian women held captive by Russia are freed in prisoner swap | The Sun

UKRAINIAN women – mostly captured armed service personnel – have been released in a Cold War-style prisoner swap with Russians.

The 108 walked to freedom in a move which has echoes of the exchanges on the Glienicke Bridge in Berlin, which became known as the Bridge of Spies.


The female captives, included 67 women who had been serving in the Ukrainian army and navy, 37 of whom surrendered to the Russians after brutal battle for the Azovstal steel works in Mariupol in May.

The jubilant group posed for a remarkable group picture as they were released back to their homeland. 

Some broke down in tears as they were reunited with their loved ones following months in captivity.

Andrii Yermak, head of the Ukrainian presidential administration, said it was the first all-female exchange in the Ukraine war.

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“Especially emotional and really special – we freed 108 women from captivity,” he said.

“Now all the women will undergo medical examinations and rehabilitation. They will hug their relatives, their children, and recover.

“It was a nervous exchange. There are too many details and moments that might impact on the process.”

Among those freed were women who Ukraine said were “illegally” captured before Vladimir Putin’s February invasion.

The women were swapped for Russians held by Ukraine, including sailors from merchant ships and members of pro-Russian separatist military units from the Donbas in eastern Ukraine.

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A Russian swapped for the women, Igor Plokhikh, said he had been captured by the Ukrainian army and was given medical assistance. 

He reportedly said the Ukrainians "saved his leg and possibly even his life”.

"I was surprised that they treated me like that, I thought it would be much worse,” he said.

The Bridge of Spies was also the title of a 2016 film starring Tom Hanks as US spy plane pilot Francis Gary Powers was swapped for KGB spy Rudolf Abel on the Glienecke Bridge.

Last month, five British prisoners of war who were captured by Russia while fighting for Ukraine have been freed.

Among them were Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner, who had been sentenced to death by a Kremlin-backed kangaroo court and held in captivity for five months.

The captives were freed in a surprise deal negotiated between Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Russian president Vladimir Putin.

It's believed they may have been traded for high ranking Russian officers captured by Ukraine in its recent lightning victory.

It’s not known how the Ukrainian women were treated but male prisoners have detailed the brutal treatment suffered at the hands of their Russian captors.

Aslin revealed how he was beaten up, stabbed and forced to listen to Soviet songs in a tiny cell for 24 hours a day.

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Another Ukrainian soldier has revealed his shocking war injuries after the PoW was captured by Russian forces in the besieged town of Mariupol.

Mykhailo Dianov was held captive by Mad Vlad's troops for almost four months before being released with 215 others in a prisoner exchange this week.

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