Deputy Commander of Azov regiment Svyatoslav Palamar speaks with a mobile phone in location given as Turkey

Deputy Commander of Azov regiment Svyatoslav Palamar speaks with a mobile phone while Ukraine's Interior Minister Denys Monastyrskyi smiles after prisoners of war (POWs) swapping, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in location given as Turkey, in this handout picture released September 22, 2022.  

The hundreds of prisoners of war released Wednesday in a surprise deal between Moscow and Kyiv included 10 foreign nationals captured in Ukraine, a close friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin's, and commanders and fighters of the Azov Regiment, a Ukrainian far-right paramilitary group.

As part of the swap, Moscow agreed to release the foreigners as well as 215 Ukrainians, including more than 100 members of Azov. In return, Ukraine said it released Viktor Medvedchuk and 55 Russian and pro-Russian fighters. The imbalance in numbers, as well as the freeing of Azov members long portrayed as "Nazis" by the Kremlin, has already sparked criticism in Russia from pro-war nationalists.