According to the Donetsk News Agency, DPR/Russian and Ukrainian POWs were exchanged for the first time on Wednesday since Russia’s SMO began, a statement saying:
“Today, we’re bringing home 144 DPR militiamen and Russian servicemen captured by the enemy.”
“We handed over to Kiev as many POWs from Ukrainian armed formation, most of them wounded.”
“Some are from Nazified battalions.”
“They are in a sorry condition with heavy wounds, amputated limbs and other complications.”
According to Russia’s lower house State Duma’s Speaker, Vyacheslav Volodin, on Thursday:
“(E)ssential investigation measures are being taken against all members of the Azov battalion.”
“That is against everyone involved in the deeds they did.”
Exchanges only include “seriously wounded (fighters) no longer able to participate in combat operations.”
Separately on Friday, Russia removed its Snake Island garrison force.
The step was taken to show that it’s not interfering with Ukrainian grain and other farm produce exports through a humanitarian corridor established for this purpose.
According to Russia’s Defense Ministry:
“This decision will not let Kiev indulge in insinuations over an impending food crisis or argue it is impossible to export grain due to Russia’s total control of the northwestern part of the Black Sea.”
“The ball is now in Kiev’s court.”
“To this day, Nazified Ukraine has done nothing to clear the Black Sea near its shores, including seaports’ areas, of naval mines” — as ordered by the Biden regime to falsely blame Russia for a made-in-the-USA global food crisis.
Separately, the battle to liberate Lisichansk entirely from Nazified occupation continues.
Russian and LPR forces continue to advance as Ukrainian troops pull back after sustaining heavy losses.
The city’s oil refinery was liberated. Russian forces now control it, an LPR statement saying:
“The territory of Ukraine’s biggest oil refinery — the Lisichansk oil refinery — has been taken under control of union forces.”
“Shootouts continued in the refinery’s industrial zone for several days and now Ukrainian units have been dislodged from the plant’s territory.”
“Militants escaped, leaving shelters and weapons.”
Russian and LPR forces control the city’s industrial zone, along with around half of its territory through Wednesday.
Ukraine’s so-called 108th battalion was virtually destroyed — its 350-force strength reduced to about 30 survivors.
Fighting continues in parts of the city — most likely to be liberated entirely in a few days, perhaps by this weekend.
Ukrainian troops in and around the city are short of everything, including food and what’s needed to treat the wounded.
Many are breaking ranks by surrendering or deserting.
According to Russian-controlled Ukrainian Kherson region’s Deputy Head of its Military-Civilian Administration, Kirill Stremousov:
Preparations are underway for a referendum to be held in the coming days.
Kherson residents in Ukraine’s south bordering Crimea — the area liberated by Russian forces — will vote up or down on becoming “a full-fledged constituent entity” by joining Russia.
Its authorities seek it. The same reality likely applies to the vast majority of its residents.
Looking ahead, Kherson intends to break from Ukraine’s US-controlled tyrannical rule — either by joining Russia or declaring its sovereign independence.
And this on Wednesday from US-installed NATO puppet Stoltenberg:
The war-making alliance has been “preparing” to confront Russia “militarily” since 2014.
That’s why NATO “increased (its presence) in the east” near Russia’s borders.
Why its member states spent billions for dollars — with war-making in mind on the phony pretext of defense.
On Wednesday, US-dominated alliance member states reinvented reality by formally designating Russia a “significant and direct threat (sic).”
Calling China a strategic competitor, the war-making alliance considers deepening Sino/Russian ties that bind hostile to its so-called values.
So plans are afoot to co-opt Asia/Pacific nations against Beijing, a foolhardy agenda doomed to fail.
NATO bloc regimes intend to maintain and strengthen support for Nazified Ukraine.
When Russia completes its liberating SMO successfully, Ukraine will exist in rump form alone.
Its industrial areas where most of its resources are located — in the east and south — will declare independence or join the Russian Federation.