Ukraine official says American citizen Suedi Murekezi released in Ukraine-Russia prisoner swap

American citizen Suedi Murekezi was reportedly freed after Ukraine and Russia conducted another prisoner exchange, said Andriy Yermak, the head of the President’s Office of Ukraine on Wednesday.

“Another exchange of prisoners. We continue to return our people,” Yermak said on Telegram.

Suedi Murekezi.
Suedi Murekezi.

Among those freed were 64 soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, he said, before noting that Murekezi was also freed. The bodies of four fallen soldiers were also released by Russia.

The U.S. Department of State confirmed that an American citizen was freed but declined to release further details “due to privacy considerations.” The person has since “departed Russian-controlled territory,” the agency said.

Murekezi was reportedly arrested in June in the city of Kherson, which was occupied by Russian forces at the time, the Guardian reported. He then was held by pro-Russian separatist forces in the city of Donetsk in the self-proclaimed “People’s Republic of Donetsk,” the newspaper reported.

A Russian news agency said that Murekezi was detained on charges of “inciting ethnic hatred” for protesting against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. His lawyer said he had become involved in those protests “by chance.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Reuters contributed.


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