Turkey’s government is touting that it was President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who was a main driver behind a successful prisoner swap between the two warring sides of Russia and Ukraine, resulting in the exchange of over 200 prisoners of war. Some reports are saying the Saudi government also helped mediate the deal. Erdoğan while speaking in New York City on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly said it was an “important step” towards ending the war.
It was a major swap involving the freeing of 215 high-profile Ukrainian prisoners of war, notably leading Azov militants and even an Azov battalion commander and his deputy, for 55 Russian troops. But importantly, crucial to the deal was the return of Kremlin-ally and wealthy businessman Viktor Medvedchuk, who had been arrested by Ukrainian authorities in the opening months of the invasion on charges of treason. Medvedchuk had long been seen as Vladimir Putin’s closest ally in Ukraine,