Radio Free Europe

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Five U.K. Prisoners Released By Russia Arrive In Britain

British citizen Shaun Pinner sits behind bars in a courtroom in Donetsk on June 9.

British citizen Shaun Pinner sits behind bars in a courtroom in Donetsk on June 9.

Five British prisoners of war released by Russia as part of an exchange with Ukraine arrived back in the U.K. on September 22.

The five are Aiden Aslin, Shaun Pinner, John Harding, Dylan Healy, and Andrew Hill.

Presidium Network, a nonprofit organization that does relief work in Ukraine, including evacuations, confirmed their arrival.

Ukraine earlier in the day announced the release of 215 of its soldiers, including fighters who led the defense of Mariupol's Azovstal steelworks, in exchange for dozens of Russian prisoners and a pro-Moscow politician.

The swap is the biggest exchange between the two sides since the start of Russia's invasion in February.

Aslin and Pinner were captured by Russian-backed forces in Ukraine's coastal city of Mariupol in April and were sentenced to death by a court in one of the Russia's proxies in eastern Ukraine.

Aslin and Pinner, along with Moroccan Brahim Saadoun, were found guilty of "mercenary activities and committing actions aimed at seizing power" -- a sentence condemned by Ukraine and Britain.

Healy, a Briton providing humanitarian assistance in Ukraine, was detained in April alongside Paul Urey, who later died in detention.

Harding and Hill had been fighting alongside Ukrainian forces and all three had denied being mercenaries in the Russian proxy court.

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