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'I Was Strong There, but Here I'm Crying All the Time' – How Released Ukrainians Were Greeted in Kyiv (PHOTOS)
30 December, 2019
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Relatives and friends meet Ukrainians released from captivity in the occupied parts of Donbas at Boryspil Airport in Kyiv on December 29, 2019. Photo: Evgenij Zhulai / Hromadske

Late in the evening of December 29, a plane with Ukrainians who were released from captivity in the occupied parts of the Donbas landed at the Boryspil Airport just outside Ukraine's capital. 76 people, who were freed by the militants within the exchange between government-controlled Ukraine and occupied Donbas, arrived – 12 soldiers of the Armed Forces and 64 civilians, including journalist and writer Stanislav Aseev and philosopher Oleg Galazjuk.

READ MORE: Ukrainian Journalists Aseyev and Galazjuk Return Home During Prisoner Exchange

"I was strong there, but here I'm crying all the time," says Olena Sorokina, who was convicted by militants in the occupied Pervomaysk for alleged espionage. Take a look at the emotions of the freed Ukrainians and those who greeted them in our photo report.

Relatives and friends enter the runway to wait for the plane. Former captives of the self-proclaimed "DPR" and "LPR" are met at Boryspil Airport after the exchange in Kyiv, Ukraine on December 29, 2019. Photo: Evgenij Zhulai / Hromadske

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy (center) with aides, security guards and the Minister of Defense. Former captives of the self-proclaimed "DPR" and "LPR" are met at Boryspil Airport after the exchange in Kyiv, Ukraine on December 29, 2019. Photo: Evgenij Zhulai / Hromadske

The plane with the freed captives lands at Boryspil airport, near Kyiv, Ukraine. Former captives of the self-proclaimed "DPR" and "LPR" are met at Boryspil Airport after the exchange in Kyiv, Ukraine on December 29, 2019. Photo: Evgenij Zhulai / Hromadske

Former captives of the self-proclaimed "DPR" and "LPR" are met at Boryspil Airport after the exchange in Kyiv, Ukraine on December 29, 2019. Photo: Evgenij Zhulai / Hromadske

President Zelenskyy greets freed Special Forces. Former captives of the self-proclaimed "DPR" and "LPR" are met at Boryspil Airport after the exchange in Kyiv, Ukraine on December 29, 2019. Photo: Evgenij Zhulai / Hromadske

Former captives of the self-proclaimed "DPR" and "LPR" are met at Boryspil Airport after the exchange in Kyiv, Ukraine on December 29, 2019. Photo: Evgenij Zhulai / Hromadske

Former captives of the self-proclaimed "DPR" and "LPR" are met at Boryspil Airport after the exchange in Kyiv, Ukraine on December 29, 2019. Photo: Evgenij Zhulai / Hromadske

Former captives of the self-proclaimed "DPR" and "LPR" are met at Boryspil Airport after the exchange in Kyiv, Ukraine on December 29, 2019. Photo: Evgenij Zhulai / Hromadske

Oleksandr Korinkov, a serviceman with Ukraine's Special Forces is greeted by his family. Former captives of the self-proclaimed "DPR" and "LPR" are met at Boryspil Airport after the exchange in Kyiv, Ukraine on December 29, 2019. Photo: Evgenij Zhulai / Hromadske

Anatoliy Semerenko with his mother. FFormer captives of the self-proclaimed "DPR" and "LPR" are met at Boryspil Airport after the exchange in Kyiv, Ukraine on December 29, 2019. Photo: Evgenij Zhulai / Hromadske

Former captives of the self-proclaimed "DPR" and "LPR" are met at Boryspil Airport after the exchange in Kyiv, Ukraine on December 29, 2019. Photo: Evgenij Zhulai / Hromadske

Former captives of the self-proclaimed "DPR" and "LPR" are met at Boryspil Airport after the exchange in Kyiv, Ukraine on December 29, 2019. Photo: Evgenij Zhulai / Hromadske

Former captives of the self-proclaimed "DPR" and "LPR" are met at Boryspil Airport after the exchange in Kyiv, Ukraine on December 29, 2019. Photo: Evgenij Zhulai / Hromadske

Anatoliy Ovcharenko, who was released in 2017, meets the now freed author and journalist Stanislav Aseev. Former captives of the self-proclaimed "DPR" and "LPR" are met at Boryspil Airport after the exchange in Kyiv, Ukraine on December 29, 2019. Photo: Evgenij Zhulai / Hromadske

Former captives of the self-proclaimed "DPR" and "LPR" are met at Boryspil Airport after the exchange in Kyiv, Ukraine on December 29, 2019. Photo: Evgenij Zhulai / Hromadske

Former captives of the self-proclaimed "DPR" and "LPR" are met at Boryspil Airport after the exchange in Kyiv, Ukraine on December 29, 2019. Photo: Evgenij Zhulai / Hromadske

Former captives of the self-proclaimed "DPR" and "LPR" are met at Boryspil Airport after the exchange in Kyiv, Ukraine on December 29, 2019. Photo: Evgenij Zhulai / Hromadske

Former captives of the self-proclaimed "DPR" and "LPR" are met at Boryspil Airport after the exchange in Kyiv, Ukraine on December 29, 2019. Photo: Evgenij Zhulai / Hromadske

Former captives of the self-proclaimed "DPR" and "LPR" are met at Boryspil Airport after the exchange in Kyiv, Ukraine on December 29, 2019. Photo: Evgenij Zhulai / Hromadske

Former captives of the self-proclaimed "DPR" and "LPR" are met at Boryspil Airport after the exchange in Kyiv, Ukraine on December 29, 2019. Photo: Evgenij Zhulai / Hromadske

Former captives of the self-proclaimed "DPR" and "LPR" are met at Boryspil Airport after the exchange in Kyiv, Ukraine on December 29, 2019. Photo: Evgenij Zhulai / Hromadske

Former captives of the self-proclaimed "DPR" and "LPR" are met at Boryspil Airport after the exchange in Kyiv, Ukraine on December 29, 2019. Photo: Evgenij Zhulai / Hromadske