Ukrainian President Zelenskyy is optimistic about faster negotiations for prisoner swaps with Russia.
On Tuesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated that the decrease in prisoner exchanges with Moscow was caused by undisclosed “factors” on the Russian side. However, he remains optimistic that the exchanges will resume in the near future.
The two sides held a number of prisoner swaps from the early months of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 and into this year. But their intensity slowed in 2023, and the last one took place in early August.
“The pace has certainly decreased as a result of the Russian Federation’s motives, but these motives are quite specific. The path will be accessible,” stated Zelenskyy during a press conference in Kyiv, without specifying Russia’s motives.
He stated that Ukraine is currently in the process of arranging a trade for “a satisfactory amount of our young men” and expressed optimism for a favorable outcome.
In the previous month, Dmytro Lubinets, the Human Rights Commissioner of Ukraine, stated that Russian prisoners in Ukraine had expressed a desire to be exchanged, but Moscow showed no interest in taking them back. Moscow did not provide any response to this statement.
In November, the Ukrainian government reported that a total of 3,574 Ukrainian military personnel and 763 civilians had been captured by either Russia or separatists backed by Moscow since 2014.
The mentioned number consists of those who have already been repatriated to Ukraine, but it may not account for all the current detainees.
The Ukrainian military reported that 2,598 individuals have been repatriated from Russian detention through 48 exchanges.