Russia has stopped exchanges of prisoners of war in an attempt to create an impression of inaction in the society, said Petro Yatsenko, a representative of the Coordination Headquarters for Prisoners of War, in an interview with Suspilne.

According to him, Ukraine is ready to continue the dialogue. It proposes exchanges, including a joint commission with the Red Cross and an open letter to Russia reminding it of the need to comply with international conventions.

“We emphasize that Russia must also fulfil its international agreements and arrangements that they have signed. They constantly claim at the diplomatic level, at the UN, for example, that they comply with everything. We are showing that de facto they are not, nothing is happening,” Yatsenko says.

Ukrainian soldiers after the exchange of prisoners, December 14, 2022 / Photo: Head of the President’s Office Andriy Yermak

On the other hand, Ukraine is open to further exchanges at the earliest opportunity, the official said.

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Ukraine has already brought back 2,598 people as of November 22, 2023, according to Dmytro Lubinets, the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights. Since March 11, 2022, a total of 48 exchanges have taken place.

The last exchange occurred on August 7, 2023, when 22 soldiers returned from captivity. These are soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, including two officers and sergeants. They took part in battles in different areas, and some of them were wounded. The oldest was 54 years old; the youngest was 23 years old.

An 18-year-old boy from occupied Mariupol, Bohdan Yermokhin, was also returned home. The Russians had taken him to the Moscow region. He appealed to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to help him return home.