Ukraine and Russia Exchanged Prisoners: How It Happened
7 September, 2019

The long-awaited prisoner exchange between Ukraine and Russia has finally happened on September 7.

Hromadske was covering it from multiple locations (including Ukraine's Boryspil and Russia's Vnukovo-2 airports) to provide you with live updates of this historic event. All updates were given in Kyiv time zone. 

To find out which Ukrainians returned home, read our article here

READ MORE: The Great Exchange: Which Ukrainian Political Prisoners Have Returned Home?

1:40 p.m. Ukrainian political prisoners – filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, journalist Roman Sushchenko, Yevhen Panov, activist Oleksandr Kolchenko, Stanislav Klykh, Mykola Karpyuk, Pavlo Gryb, Oleksiy Syzonovych, Volodymyr Balukh, Artur Panov, and Edem Bekirov – have all arrived, too.

1:39 p.m. Ukrainian sailors are in Kyiv!

Full list of the Ukrainian sailors that were captured by Russia and have just returned to Ukraine:

Bohdan Nebylytsia, senior lieutenant

Andriy Oprysko, senior sailor

Vyacheslav Zinchenko, senior sailor

Serhiy Tsybizov, sailor

Serhiy Popov, captain lieutenant

Vladyslav Kostyshyn, senior lieutenant

Andriy Drach, SBU representative

Roman Mokriak, captain lieutenant

Yuri Bezyazychny, senior sailor

Andriy Artemenko, senior sailor 

Andriy Eider, sailor

Bohdan Holovash, senior sailor

Denys Hrytsenko, second-rank captain

Vasyl Soroka, SBU representative

Oleh Melnychuk, senior lieutenant

Mykhailo Vlasyuk, senior sailor 

Viktor Bespalchenko, senior sailor

Volodymyr Tereshchenko, senior sailor

Yevhen Semydotskyi, sailor

Volodymyr Lisovyi, third-rank captain

Andriy Shevchenko, michman

Volodymyr Varymez, senior sailor

Serhiy Chulyba, second sergeant

Yuriy Budzylo, michman

1:28 p.m. A plane has landed at the Boryspil airport. The crowd cheers in excitement.

12:58 p.m. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has arrived at the Boryspil airport.

12:50 p.m. Buses carrying relatives of Ukrainian political prisoners have arrived at the Boryspil airport, where the Ukrainians are expected to arrive soon.

12:19 p.m. Two planes that reportedly have political prisoners and captives on board have simultaneously taken off in Kyiv and Moscow.

12:12 p.m. A plane bearing Ukrainian flag colors has been seen at the Vnukovo-2 airport in Russia. This might be the plane that will bring dozens of Ukrainian political prisoner and prisoners of war back home. 

11:48 a.m. Russian lawyer Mark Feygin stated on Twitter that, according to the information he has, 24 Ukrainian sailors and 11 political prisoners will be returned to Ukraine. Among them are Oleg Sentsov, journalist Roman Sushchenko, Yevhen Panov, activist Oleksandr Kolchenko, Stanislav Klykh, Mykola Karpyuk, Pavlo Gryb, Oleksiy Syzonovych, Volodymyr Balukh, Artur Panov, and Edem Bekirov.

11:43 a.m. Lawyer Nikolai Polozov told Hromadske that all the 24 Ukrainian sailors have been bailed out by the Ukrainian Human Rights Ombudsperson Lyudmila Denisova. All of the sailors have been brought to Russia's Vnukovo-2 airport, Polozov said.

11:36 a.m. At Terminal B of the Boryspil airport, where according to preliminary information Ukrainian political prisoners will be arriving from Russia, Hromadske has seen lawyer to Ukrainian sailors Nikolai Polozov and Ukraine's interior minister Arsen Avakov.

11:11 a.m. Buses carrying the relatives of Ukrainian political prisoners and captives are en route to the Boryspil airport near Kyiv.

11:00 a.m. Two empty buses are parked at the military airport in Boryspil. According to Hromadske's correspondent at the scene, Victoria Roshchyna, they might be used to drive the Russians that are to be exchanged for Ukrainians.

10:55 a.m. Learn the harrowing story of imprisonment of Crimean-born Oleg Sentsov and Oleksandr Kolchenko by watching our documentary.

10:46 a.m. According to preliminary information, the Russians that are held in Ukraine will be departing from Ukraine's military airport in Boryspil (near Kyiv) and sent to Russia to be exchanged for Ukraine's political prisoners and sailors.

10:45 a.m. Watch Hromadske's documentary to learn the story of the 24 Ukrainian captured sailors.

10:41 a.m. An empty bus arrived to the military airport at Kyiv's Boryspil airport.

10:35 a.m. Relatives of Ukrainian political prisoners are seen leaving the ombudsperson's office in Kyiv. Among them are family members of Pavlo Gryb, Oleg Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko. Yevhen Panov, Volodymyr Balukh, and others.

Hromadske also noticed the relatives of Ukrainian sailors (all of them consider themselves prisoners of war) near the office.

10:32 a.m. At 8:45 a.m. two buses escorted by the police left Moscow's Lefortovo detention center. They arrived to Russia's Vnukovo-2 airport. Hromadske's Nataliya Gumenyuk is following the situation on the ground.