MOSCOW, March 23. /TASS/. Moscow and Kiev held two exchanges of prisoners, while the Russian Defense Ministry organizes daily humanitarian corridors for Ukrainian civilians, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement on Wednesday.
"The Russian Defense Ministry is organizing daily humanitarian corridors and evacuation of civilians from residential areas," the statement reads. "Moreover there were two exchanges of prisoners between Russia and Ukraine."
"Meanwhile, the European Union fails to persuade Kiev to stop Ukrainian nationalists using civilians as a human shield and blocking their exit to Russia," Zakharova added.
Russian Human Rights Commissioner Tatyana Moskalkova said on Tuesday that the 1st prisoners swap took place earlier this week adding that "We returned nine of our boys."
Russia’s military operation in Ukraine
On February 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed decrees at a ceremony in the Kremlin recognizing the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR). Putin met with DPR leader Denis Pushilin and LPR leader Leonid Pasechnik, and signed treaties with them on friendship, cooperation and mutual aid between Russia and both republics.
President Putin said in a televised address on February 24 that in response to a request from the heads of the Donbass republics, he had decided to carry out a special military operation in order to protect people "who have been suffering from the Kiev regime’s abuse and genocide for eight years." The Russian leader stressed that Moscow had no plans to occupy Ukrainian territory.
The Russian Defense Ministry had reassured earlier that Russian troops are not targeting Ukrainian cities, and were limited to conducting surgical strikes and incapacitating Ukrainian military infrastructure, insisting that there is no threat whatsoever to the civilian population.