Another exchange of POWs took place: Ukraine brought home 230 more Ukrainian citizens
On January 3, 2024, 224 Ukrainian defenders and 6 civilians were released from Russian captivity and returned home. This is the largest exchange of prisoners of war since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, as the Ukrainian Coordination Headquarters for the Treatment of Prisoners of War informed.
Among the returned Ukrainians are 130 soldiers of the Armed Forces, 55 from the National Guard of Ukraine, 38 from the State Border Guard Service, as well as one from the National Police of Ukraine. Among those brought home were both those who had an official status as prisoners of war (182 individuals) and Ukrainian servicemen who were considered missing (48 individuals). The majority of those released from Russian captivity were men (225 individuals), along with five women.
The list of returned Ukrainians includes seven defenders of the Zmiinyi Island, a musician from the military orchestra, a servicewoman of the Armed Forces of Ukraine who was captured by the Russians while on maternity leave, National Guard members who were taken while performing duties at the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant, a civilian lecturer from the Volodymyr Dahl East Ukrainian National University, as well as defenders of Mariupol.
“After exhausting months in captivity, a combat female medic from the 36th Separate Marine Brigade returned home. While in captivity, she consistently spoke Ukrainian. The Russians simulated her transfer for prisoner exchange several times, but each time, she was returned to her place of detention,” noted in the Ukrainian Coordination Headquarters for the Treatment of Prisoners of War.
Ukraine also expressed special thanks to the United Arab Emirates for their active participation in the implementation of this exchange.
“We remember all Ukrainians held in Russian captivity. There was a long pause in the exchanges, but there was no pause in the negotiations regarding the exchanges. We seize every opportunity, try all mediation options. At every international meeting that can help the cause, we raise the issue of returning our captives. And we will continue this work to return our people… All our people,” stated President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in his evening video address.
Zelenskyy also thanked Ukrainian warriors on the frontline who have been taking Russian occupiers prisoners and replenishing the exchange fund. “The more Russians we take prisoner, the more effective the negotiations on exchanges will be,” emphasized the President of Ukraine.
This marks the 49th exchange of POWs since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. As Dmytro Lubinets, Commissioner for Human Rights of the Verkhovna Rada, reported, Ukraine has already released from Russian captivity and brought home 2,828 of its citizens.