Saudi Arabia said that mediation by HRH Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman succeeded in Russia releasing ten foreign prisoners of war and transferring them to Riyadh.
Saudi Arabia did not reveal the identity of these people but said that they were from several countries, including Morocco.
The Saudi Foreign Ministry said that Russia released on Wednesday (September 21, 2022) ten foreign prisoners of war in Ukraine after mediation by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
She added in a statement that the list of prisoners included citizens of the United States, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Croatia, and Morocco, and said that a plane carrying them had landed in the Kingdom.
And the ministry added, “The concerned authorities in the Kingdom received them and transferred them from Russia to the Kingdom, and worked to facilitate the procedures for their return to their countries.” However, it did not specify when the prisoners of war would be transferred to their countries, nor did the ministry specify the identity of the prisoners.
A Saudi official said they were five Britons, two Americans, a Croat, a Moroccan, and a Swede.
A large number of foreigners had traveled to Ukraine to fight since the start of the Russian invasion on February 24. Russian forces arrested some of them along with other foreigners in the country who said they were not combatants.
Reuters was not immediately able to determine whether the group of prisoners released included Britons Eden Aslin and Sean Benner and Moroccan student Ibrahim Saadoun.
However, the Moroccan website Hespress reported that unnamed “media outlets” reported that Russia had released the Moroccan student, Ibrahim Saadoun, without providing further details.
It is noteworthy that these were arrested last April, after fighting alongside the Ukrainian forces in the city of Mariupol.
They were sentenced to death by a court in the breakaway republic of Donetsk, which has unilaterally declared independence and is fighting on behalf of Russia in eastern Ukraine.
Prince Mohammed bin Salman has close relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin, including the two countries’ cooperation within the framework of the OPEC Plus group of oil producers, despite intense pressure from Washington, a traditional ally of Riyadh, to isolate Russia.
Hundreds of enemy fighters have been captured by Ukrainian and Russian forces since the beginning of the conflict, but the two sides have exchanged only a few prisoners.
The head of the United Nations human rights mission in Ukraine said earlier this month that Russia does not allow contact with prisoners of war, adding that the United Nations has evidence that some of them have been subjected to torture and ill-treatment, which may amount to war crimes.
Russia denies that prisoners of war are tortured or otherwise ill-treated.