Pit bull dog in prisoner of war swap that saw 140 Ukrainians rescued from Russia

A pit bull dog has been included as part of a prisoner of war swap that saw 140 Ukrainians rescued from Russia.

The animal was "captured" by Russian soldiers from the Azovstal iron and steel works plant – a battle site that became renowned for the brave defiance of Ukrainian troops during the bloody Siege of Mariupol that kicked off at the end of February.

Renamed Adidas, he was then rehoused with the head of Chechnya but has now been returned to his homeland.

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By mid-April, Ukrainian fighters retreated to Azovstal, which became the last pocket of resistance in the siege, and held out for more than a month there with thousands of Russians casualties claimed.

But the eventual surrender of the remaining Ukrainian defenders saw the terrier among those rounded up and taken to Russia as prisoners of war.

Releasing news of the prisoner swap, though, the Coordination Headquarters for the Treatment of Prisoners of War stated on Telegram: "It was also possible to bring home a four-legged friend of the Ukrainian soldiers: an American pit bull terrier.

"The dog was evacuated from Azovstal together with the defenders of Mariupol, but was then taken to Russia."

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It had been previously reported by RIA Novosti, the Russian state-owned agency, that the pit bull had been given to Ramzan Kadyrov – the head of the Russian republic of Chechnya – in June.

Kadyrov, a colonel general in the Russian military, was believed to have been given the dog by Yuriy Kovanov, who was described as a volunteer from the city of Ryazan in western Russia.

"Adidas, his name used to be Adolf, was at Azovstal and spent two months in the catacombs with his owner," Kovanov said. "At the time of his capture, he was handed over to the special services, who contacted me and asked me to take him and find him a new family."

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