The Office of President of Ukraine retracts the rumours about political prisoners returning to Ukraine from Russia due to the captives' exchange between the two countries. The Office's Telegram channel reported that on Friday morning.
"The process of mutual release of the detained individuals continues. The information about its completion is not true. It's not the first time that we see the information chaos caused by the link to a confirmed piece of information and numerous "sources". We urge to realize the consequences of misinformation: it's a game with the society's emotions. When the mutual release of the detained individuals is over, the Office of the President will report it via official channels", reads the message.
The SBU, Ukraine's State Security Service also stated that the process carries on, asking the reporters not to spread the unverified information. Olena Hitlyanska, the SBU speaker posted that on Facebook.
'Dear journalists, the complicated process of negotiations on prisoners release will carry on. Be patient, it's not much longer now, I hope", she wrote.
At about noon, the SBU added that the exchange of prisoners between Ukraine and Russia would definitely not take place on August 30. Interfax-Ukraine news agency reported that, referring to a source in the SBU.
"The date of the exchange is unknown. It's definitely not today", the interlocutor from the SBU said.
Radio Liberty also referred to its sources, saying that the exchange is delayed until the next week.
Reporters gathered at Boryspil airport, expecting an exchange. They spotted Oleksandr Danyliuk, the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine there. He said he hope for an exchange to take place, but refused to comment any further - only when it's all over, as Hromadske quoted him.
Friday night, Ruslan Ryaboshapka, the newly appointed Prosecutor General of Ukraine reposted a Facebook message saying Ukraine and Russia began the exchange procedure. In the original message, Anna Islamova, the Ukrainian parliamentary official said that the exchange took place and Oleg Sentsov, Mykola Karpyuk, Volodymyr Balukh, Pavlo Gryb and 24 Ukrainian sailors are going back to Ukraine.
"Praying... The exchange is done: the sailors, Sentsov, Karpyuk, Balukh, Gryb are flying home. We're waiting!", reads the original message.
No official statmements from Ukrainian or Russia government were made in this regard; no comments from lawyers and families of the prisoners followed yet.
Previously, media claimed that Russia and Ukraine agreed on he exchange in 33 for 33 format. President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky added he hoped for first results of the exchange in the near future.