"Work is ongoing": DIU announces good news on exchanges of Ukrainian prisoners
Ukraine continues to do everything possible to bring home Ukrainian soldiers who were captured by the occupiers. Negotiations are ongoing to organise new prisoner of war exchanges with Russia.
This was stated by Andriy Yusov, a representative of the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine, during a briefing in Kyiv on 18 August. He also announced good news for the families of military personnel held in captivity in the near future.
Yusov stressed that during the full-scale aggression with Russia, about 50 prisoner exchanges have already taken place, although international humanitarian law provides for exchanges after the end of the war, not in the midst of confrontation.
"As of today, 48 exchanges have already taken place, 2,598 captured defenders and civilians have been returned from Russian captivity. Or, in many cases, if we are talking about civilians, it cannot even be called 'captivity'. Because this is simply the illegal detention of people who should not have been on the territory of the so-called Russian Federation and have no legal status, no grounds even in terms of the law of this dictatorship, this regime. This is just kidnapping," Yusov said.
Despite the fact that negotiations with the aggressor state on the return of prisoners are not easy, Ukrainians may soon hear new good news.
"The work on the next (exchanges - Ed.) continues. We are waiting and hope that in the near future there will be good news, more good news for the families of our defenders. But, of course, there is still a lot of work to be done," predicted the intelligence representative.
According to Yusov, over the past few weeks, the exchange fund has been replenished by more than 200 occupants. At the same time, every fifth invader surrendered voluntarily under the "I want to live" programme.
He also said that among the occupiers captured by Ukrainian soldiers there are those who want to continue fighting on the side of Ukraine. These are both privates and representatives of junior and senior officers of the Russian army.
At the same time, Yusov did not say how many of the occupiers' prisoners of war have expressed such a desire.
The last exchange of prisoners between Russia and Ukraine took place on 7 August. Back then, 22 more Ukrainian soldiers returned home from captivity. They defended their homeland in different areas.
The oldest defender returned that day was 54 years old, the youngest was 23.
That day, in his evening video address, Zelenskyy stressed that it was important to replenish the exchange fund in order to release all the Heroes in captivity.
A year and a half into the full-scale war, the Russian Federation has once again changed the "goals of the Joint Forces Operation". According to Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, the priority goal of the armed aggression against Ukraine is the release of Russian soldiers from captivity. The representative of the aggressor state decided to ignore the fact that Russian prisoners of war appeared en masse after the start of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine.