Ukraine has already returned 2576 people, including 144 civilians, as of July 7, 2023. A total of 47 exchanges have taken place since March 11, 2022.

“I would like to thank everyone working on this and doing their job. It is difficult to do this on the temporarily occupied territory of the country, and even more so on the Russian territory but we are doing it,” commented Dmytro Lubinets, the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights.

The last exchange occurred yesterday, July 6, 2023, when 45 soldiers returned from captivity. Three of them were servicemen from Kharkiv region.

Among the soldiers are two officers, 41 privates and sergeants, and a terrorist fighter from Kherson. These are the defenders of Mariupol and Azovstal and soldiers from the Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kharkiv axes.

Ukrainian children who were illegally deported to Russia – 6-year-old Renat and 10-year-old Varvara – also returned home. Their mother, a combat medic, was released in a major exchange in October 2022.

The Ombudsman added that there are more than 25,000 Ukrainian civilian hostages in Russian captivity alone. Lubinets emphasized that if an effective mechanism is not launched, it will take years and decades to return all hostages.

“Russians torture our citizens every day. We are recording this,” he said at the Legion of Law forum.

See also

One year in captivity: Kyiv holds rally to commemorate release of defenders from Azovstal. The defenders of Mariupol who left Azovstal have been in Russian captivity for a year now, where they faced only torture, abuse and death.