Planes carrying Russian, Ukrainian prisoners land in Moscow, Kiev

A police convoy escort two buses with tinted windows leaving the high-security prison of Lefortovo in Moscow as a long-awaited exchange of prisoners between Moscow and Kiev has begun today. (Vasily Maximov, AFP)
A police convoy escort two buses with tinted windows leaving the high-security prison of Lefortovo in Moscow as a long-awaited exchange of prisoners between Moscow and Kiev has begun today. (Vasily Maximov, AFP)

Planes carrying 70 Russian and Ukrainian prisoners involved in a landmark exchange landed Saturday in Moscow and Kiev, with the Ukrainian leader personally greeting former inmates.

The jet carrying the Ukrainians touched down at Kiev's Boryspil airport to applause from the prisoners' relatives, an AFP correspondent said.

Filmmaker Oleg Sentsov said he was happy to be home. "I thank all the people who have fought for us," he said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and relatives had arrived at Boryspil to welcome the plane from Moscow. The former comedian was seen hugging the former prisoners, an AFP correspondent said.

Russian state television showed the plane carrying the Russians landing at Moscow's Vnukovo airport. Soon after the former prisoners started disembarking, with big bags in their hands.

Tatyana Moskalkova, Russia's human rights ombudsman, said on Russian television that 70 people had been involved in the swap.

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