The Ukrainian presidency has confirmed that it has obtained the return of these members of the Azov regiment, hated in Russia, after “negotiations with the Turkish side”.
The Kremlin castigated on Saturday the repatriation by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky of several Ukrainian commanders who were to remain in Turkey until the end of the conflict thanks to an agreement between Moscow and Kiev.
The Ukrainian presidency has confirmed that it has obtained the return of these members of the Azov regiment, hated in Russia, after “negotiations with the Turkish side”. They were met at Istanbul airport by President Volodymyr Zelensky, who was on a visit to Turkey.
“The return of Azov commanders from Turkey to Ukraine is nothing but a direct violation of the terms of existing agreements,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying by news agencies. Russian press.
Part of the battalion captured at Mariupol
According to him, both Ukraine and Turkey violated the terms of this agreement which provided for these men to remain in Turkey until the end of the conflict.
Dmitri Peskov linked this return to the “failure of the Ukrainian counter-offensive” led since the beginning of June and to Ankara’s desire to show its “solidarity” before the NATO summit in Vilnius on July 11 and 12.
“Preparations for the NATO summit are underway and, of course, there has been a lot of pressure on Turkey,” he said.
Part of the Ukrainian army’s Azov regiment, formed on the basis of the ultranationalist battalion of the same name, was captured by Russian forces after the fall of Mariupol in May 2022.
Celebrated as heroes in Ukraine for their tenacious resistance within the Azovstal factory during the siege of Mariupol, the Azov fighters are reviled in Russia for their links with Ukrainian ultranationalist circles.
Ukraine announced at the end of September the exchange with Russia of 215 soldiers, including defense chiefs from the Azovstal steelworks.
Five military commanders, “superheroes”, according to Volodymyr Zelensky, had been transferred to Turkey. They were to remain there “in absolute safety and in comfortable conditions” until “the end of the war”, according to an agreement with Mr. Erdogan.
Source: BFM TV