Since start of full-scale war, 1,762 Ukrainians have returned from Russian captivity, says Zelenskyy
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy (Photo:Office of the President)
Ukraine has managed to release 1,762 Ukrainian men and women from enemy captivity since the beginning of Russia's full-scale war against Ukraine, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said during his nightly address to the nation on Feb. 4.
"In total, as of Feb. 24, our team has managed to return 1,762 Ukrainian men and women from Russian captivity,” Zelenskyy said, giving the official total of those returned.
“And I also thank everyone who is involved in helping these people of ours after their return," the head of state said.
Ukraine and Russia conducted a new exchange of prisoners on Feb. 4, with another 116 Ukrainians being returned from Russian captivity. They including defenders of Mariupol, Kherson partisans and snipers from the Bakhmut section of the front.
In addition, Ukraine recovered the bodies of two dead foreign volunteers, as well as the body of a dead volunteer soldier, authorities said.
Ukraine’s government has not revealed how many Russian soldiers it has in captivity. Generally, prisoner swaps of soldiers have been conducted on a one-for-one basis.
According to a Belgian news report, there are around 500 prisons in Ukraine holding Russian prisoners of war.
Footage from the prison showed several dozen Russian prisoners exercising in a yard, and eating in a prison canteen.
Ukraine claims to have killed 131,290 Russian soldiers, including 700 in the last day alone, since Moscow launched its full-scale invasion on Feb. 24.
The figures are impossible to verify, but footage released by Ukrainian military sources show the Russians taking heavy casualties in the east of the country, where fighting is currently fiercest.
Ukraine has set up a hotline called “I Want to Live” through which Russian troops can arrange their safe surrender to Ukrainian forces. Video of Russian troops surrendering and being guided to Ukrainian lines by a drone has circulated on social media.
Ukraine’s government claims 6,543 Russian soldiers have used the “I Want to Live” hotline, with the organization receiving 50 to 100 messages from Russian soldiers every day, the UK’s Guardian newspaper reported on Jan. 26.
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