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"This is more difficult than prisoner of war exchanges": Zelenskyy tells how the release of civilian Ukrainians from captivity is progressing

Maryna PohorilkoPolitics
Zelenskyy told journalists about the return of civilian Ukrainians from captivity

The process of releasing civilian Ukrainians from Russian captivity is more complicated than the exchange of prisoners of war. In this matter, our state counts on the help of the international community, which can force Russia to release Ukrainian prisoners.

This was stated by President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy during a conversation with media representatives on the occasion of Journalist's Day. He explained that the difficulty lies in the fact that Ukraine does not have as many Russian civilians to exchange for Ukrainian citizens as it does in the case of prisoner of war exchanges (to watch the video, scroll to the end of the news).

According to the Head of State, Ukraine has already managed to return 2,500 people, including about 370 children and about 150 civilians.

"That is, 550 people out of 2,500 are children and civilians. These are those who have been returned," Zelenskyy said.

At the same time, he said, the work on the release of civilian Ukrainians from Russian captivity is very active. The Verkhovna Rada Commissioner for Human Rights, Dmytro Lubinets, is dealing with these issues, as well as the recently opened centre for the return of Ukrainian children. In addition, international partners, including Turkey and Saudi Arabia, are involved in the process.

"Turkey knows that the issue of Crimean Tatars is their responsibility," the head of state said, adding that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has a list of prisoners and has promised to help.

In addition, the President is convinced that those who have influence in Russia should have an impact on the issue of the release of civilian Ukrainians from captivity.

"Today there was a representative of the Vatican from the Pope, and I asked him to deal with children, to help in the return of our children. I also discussed this issue with China. If they have any separate powerful economic relations with Russia, or religious or political relations, such people can influence the return of children and civilians," the president said.

Zelenskyy is also convinced that a potentially powerful platform for the release of civilians from Russian captivity could be the Ukrainian peace formula, which, through global pressure on Russia, could achieve, for example, an exchange of prisoners in the "all-for-all" format, the return of all illegally deported Ukrainian children, civilians or political prisoners.

Earlier, the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights, Dmytro Lubinets, explained why the return of civilian hostages from Russian captivity is so slow - Russia is hampering the process in every way possible. Our state is doing everything to free Ukrainian citizens.

As OBOZREVATEL previously reported, Zelenskyy announced the opening of a Child Protection Centre to counter Russia's crimes against Ukrainian children. So far, 371 children abducted by Russian invaders have been returned home.

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