Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Andriy Yermak notes that many influential states and international partners are involved in the process of freeing Ukrainian and foreign citizens from Russian captivity. He stated this at a briefing dedicated to the exchange and return of defenders of Ukraine from captivity.
According to Andriy Yermak, the work to liberate the defenders of Mariupol involved a large number of negotiations and consultations at various levels. In particular, Türkiye and Saudi Arabia played an important role in this process.
"There was a telephone conversation between President Zelenskyy and the Crown Prince, in which the President thanked for the help and highly appreciated the participation of Saudi Arabia in this process," he noted.
Andriy Yermak also reported that the Presidents of Ukraine and Türkiye had a conversation a few days ago, and they personally reached relevant important agreements.
"I would like to note the personal participation of President Erdoğan in what happened. He provided these guarantees for the safe stay of our citizens on the territory of Türkiye," emphasized the Head of the Presidential Office.
He also added that he regularly communicates with Adviser to the President of Türkiye İbrahim Kalın.
"I would also like to note the role of UN Secretary-General António Guterres, with whom we were in contact almost every day. He also helped a lot," Andriy Yermak said.
The Head of the President's Office emphasized that the Ukrainian side is in constant contact with partners from the United States of America and Great Britain, and they were aware of the details of this operation. Representatives of the countries whose citizens Ukraine planned to liberate were also informed.
Andriy Yermak reminded that, in addition to 205 citizens of Ukraine, ten foreigners were freed from Russian captivity, including five citizens of Great Britain, two citizens of the United States, a citizen of Morocco, a citizen of Sweden and a citizen of Croatia.
Ambassador of the United Kingdom to Ukraine Melinda Simmons thanked the President of Ukraine and his team, the heads of the security and intelligence agencies for their role in the release of five British citizens.
"This has put an end to many months of uncertainty and suffering, including the threat of the death penalty for them by the Russian Federation. We continue to call on Russia to adhere to international humanitarian law and not to use prisoners of war and detained civilians for political purposes," she said.
Melinda Simmons also emphasized the unwavering commitment of Great Britain to support the Ukrainian people in their struggle for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.
US Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brink noted that the United States commends the release of prisoners of war, including two American citizens.
"This demonstrates how close and productive the cooperation between the US and Ukraine is. So I want to thank President Zelenskyy, Mr. Yermak, Maliuk, Budanov, Monastyrskyi, and everyone who was involved in this on behalf of myself, our country and all Americans. I congratulate you on the return of so many of your heroes," she said.
Bridget Brink also emphasized that the United States will support Ukraine as long as it is needed.
Ambassador of Sweden to Ukraine Tobias Thyberg also congratulated the Head of State's team on the fact that such a large number of defenders of Mariupol and other Ukrainians were able to return home.
"These were extremely difficult negotiations. And I want to sincerely thank you on behalf of the entire people of Sweden for the fact that Ukraine included a Swedish citizen, who defended Azovstal side by side with your heroes, in these difficult negotiations,” said the diplomat.