U.S. citizen freed in Russia-Ukraine prisoner swap

U.S. citizen freed in Russia-Ukraine prisoner swap

KYIV (Reuters) -A U.S. citizen has been released by Russia as part of a prisoner exchange with Ukraine that involved dozens of detainees, the head of Ukraine's presidential administration said Wednesday.

Andriy Yermak wrote on the Telegram messaging app that Suedi Murekezi had been "helping our people" before ending up in Russian custody.

He said 64 Ukrainian soldiers and the bodies of four fallen soldiers had been handed over by Russia but did not say when the exchange took place or how many Russians had been handed over.

Reuters could not immediately reach Murekezi for comment. A British newspaper, the Guardian, last week quoted him as saying he was detained in June in the southern city of Kherson, which was occupied by Russian forces at the time.

He was released in late October after being held in various locations and had been living without documents in the city of Donetsk, which is controlled by forces backed by Russia, the Guardian said.

The Russian state news agency TASS reported in August that Murekezi had been charged in Donetsk with "inciting ethnic hatred" for protesting against Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Murekezi's lawyer said he had become involved in those protests "by chance," TASS reported.

(Reporting by Dan Peleschuk, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

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