What is known about the exchanged defenders and how many other Ukrainians remain in captivity?
On January 3, the largest prisoner exchange since the beginning of the full-scale russian invasion took place. Find out more about those who were returned to Ukraine and how many other Ukrainian soldiers remain in russian captivity
Since the beginning of the full-scale war, 2,828 Ukrainians have been released from russian captivity, including both military and civilians. The largest exchange took place on January 3, when 230 Ukrainians returned home, most of whom had been held captive for more than a year and a half.
"We are grateful to the state that fought and fought for their return, and continues to fight for the return of all of them. It is really important and it is a symbol that everyone should return home. There is still a lot of work to be done, so today is a really important event. In fact, 2828 Ukrainians have already been released from enemy captivity during the full-scale invasion and, of course, this work will continue... Ukraine is ready to take a variety of steps to return its people, both military and civilians," said Andriy Yusov, a representative of the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine, during the telethon.
How does Ukraine return its citizens?
For the past six months, prisoner exchanges have been virtually frozen, and as the head of the DIU, Kyrylo Budanov, explained, the exchange that took place on January 3 was very difficult to prepare, and they worked on it for quite a long period of time with the involvement of international partners.
"This exchange has been prepared for quite a long time. The United Arab Emirates also directly participated in the organization of this process, and with their help we were able to do it together," he said.
At the same time, the Ukrainian government hopes that it will finally be able to achieve consistency in this matter and start regular exchanges this year. According to Dmytro Lubinets, the Ukrainian Parliamentary Commissioner for Human Rights, the next exchange may take place in a few weeks.
What is known about those who were returned from captivity on January 3?
According to the Coordinating Committee on the Treatment of Prisoners of War, Ukraine managed to return 130 servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, including 14 soldiers of the Territorial Defense, 14 soldiers of the Navy, 55 soldiers of the National Guard, 38 soldiers of the State Border Guard Service, 1 police officer and 6 civilians. It is noted that among those exchanged, 28 people were previously considered missing and had the status of "searching for a person."
Thus, among the released Ukrainians are the fighters who defended Azovstal, the defenders of Zmeinyi Island and those who ensured the security of the Chornobyl NPP.
According to Petro Yatsenko, head of the press service of the Coordination Headquarters for the Treatment of Prisoners of War, on Radio NV, 90% of the prisoners were tortured in russian captivity. He also noted that most of them have damaged digestive system and musculoskeletal system. Many also have problems with their lower limbs and teeth.
How many Ukrainians are held captive by the russians?
As of November 2023, at least 4,337 Ukrainians were held in russian captivity, including 5,374 military personnel and 763 civilians. At the same time, according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, about 15,000 military personnel and 11,000 civilians are missing. The government has not provided updated information as of 2024.
We remember all Ukrainians who are in captivity and believe in the return of everyone home!
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