Moscow manipulates mercy by suspending swaps to influence Ukrainian moods, Kyiv HQ says
Relatives of captured defenders of "Azovstal" (Photo: Valentina Polishchuk/

Russia suspended the exchange of prisoners in an attempt to influence society and create the impression that the Ukrainian authorities are not working on this issue, Petro Yatsenko, a representative of the Coordination Headquarters for the Treatment of Prisoners of War, said in an interview with public broadcaster Suspilne.

Yatsenko noted that it makes no sense for Ukraine to keep Russian prisoners. For its part, the Russian Federation suspended exchanges in order to "influence" Ukrainian society.

"They are trying to make sure that, supposedly, nothing is happening, look. But in reality, work is going on, we are not sitting idly by, we are constantly working to organize the next exchanges," he said.

Read also: 4,337 Ukrainian military, civilian prisoners in Russian captivity – government estimate

Also, according to the HQ representative, Ukraine is ready for dialogue and puts forward various proposals to the enemy, in particular:

→ creation of a coordination headquarters together with the International Committee of the Red Cross;
→ creation of "mixed medical commissions" (an instrument provided for in the Third Geneva Convention).

"This is a commission that includes two representatives of a neutral country and one representative of a detaining country, that is, Ukraine. A similar commission should be formed by the Russian side so that these commissions, visiting places of detention, can identify prisoners of war who need medical care and who have to be repatriated," he said.

Kyiv stresses that Russia must also fulfill its international agreements and arrangements, which they have signed, Yatsenko added.

"They constantly claim at the diplomatic level, in the UN, for example, that they comply with everything. We show that de facto no, nothing is happening," he emphasized.

The last exchange of prisoners took place on August 7, 2023, when 22 Ukrainian soldiers were returned from Russian captivity.

According to Defense Intelligence after the operation to fly the Russian Mi-8 helicopter to Ukraine, the number of Russians willing to surrender as part of the "I want to live" project increased by 70%.

On October 17, "I want to live" reported that more than 1,000 operations for the voluntary surrender of Russian soldiers are already at the stage of completion.

The military intelligence reported cases of repeated capture of Russians after an exchange.