19:24 / 22.09.2022.

Author: Nikola Badovinac

Croatian national arrives in Croatia following captivity in Ukraine

Arrival of Vjekoslav Prebeg

Arrival of Vjekoslav Prebeg

Foto: Igor Kralj / Pixsell

Croatian national Vjekoslav Prebeg arrived back in Croatia on Thursday after being held for five months by Russian forces in Ukraine on suspicion of being a mercenary. 

Ten foreign prisoners of war, including Prebeg, were released from captivity on Wednesday following a mediation by Saudi Arabia.

"It's great to be back in Croatia after these past five months. It was very difficult. It's great to be free. I just want to see my sister again. Once I get settled back in and I have time to think about everything that's happend, I'll have something more to say about what happened," said Vjekoslav Prebeg.

Doctors and politicians alike reacted to Prebeg's arrival back on home soil.

Dr Toni Kolak, deputy director for Medical Services at the Dubrava University Hospital, said Prebeg's condition was similar to prisoners who had been held captive by rebel Serbs during the Homeland War. "He's scared but he's happy to be alive," he added.

Tomislav Bošnjak, Croatian Ambassador to Egypt, also expressed concern for Prebeg's condition after having been "imprisoned for five months in a crouched position". This alone, he said, would "leave a person with serious problems to their joints and muscles".

The ambassador added that he had been injured in battle and he has a piece of shrapnel embedded in his shoulder.

"We are happy that we succeeded through numerous contacts with the Ukrainian side but also other countries that also invested efforts to return their citizens. In the end we succeeded and we are thankful to the Ukrainian authorities and Saudi Arabia which played a key role over these past few weeks," said Prime Minister Andrej Plenković.

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