One of largest prisoner swaps was planned for January 24 when Russian Il-76 crashed – HUR
Andriy Yusov (Photo:

The exchange of prisoners of war, which was planned for Wednesday, was supposed to be "one of the largest during the full-scale war," Andriy Yusov, a representative of the Main  Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense, said on the air of the national telethon.

Yusov was asked how many prisoners were to be exchanged that day.

"We will not give an exact figure. And before the exchange, until it takes place, such things are not practiced. But it should have been one of the largest exchanges in the history of the full-scale war. And generally speaking, we can say that it was supposed to be the jubilee 50th, but, unfortunately, it did not happen," he replied.

Regarding the "lists" of alleged Ukrainian prisoners of war published by Russian propagandists, the military intel representative noted that the information is being studied. There is also communication with the families of prisoners.

Yusov added that if Russia officially wants to make the "lists" public, it should do so through bodies related to direct work with prisoners of war – the Ministry of Defense, special services, humanitarian headquarters, etc.

On January 24, a Russian Il-76 crashed in Russia's Belgorod Oblast. The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation stated that there were allegedly Ukrainian prisoners of war on board the downed plane. Ukraine's Defense Intelligence said they did not have verified information about who exactly was on board, but confirmed that a prisoner exchange was indeed supposed to take place that day.

Russian propagandists published lists of 65 prisoners of war who were allegedly on board, but there are names of people who were exchanged as early as January 3. Ukraine's spy agency says that they will not comment on the data from propagandists as the lists should be made public by the official government agencies of the Russian Federation.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that Ukraine will insist on an international investigation.

The Security Service of Ukraine opened a criminal investigation into the downing of the Il-76 – under the article on violation of the laws and customs of war.