Russia has effectively suspended the exchanges of prisoners of war, as it aims to use them as a "lever of influence" and destabilize Ukrainian society, said Petro Yatsenko, head of the press service of the Coordination Staff for the Treatment of Prisoners of War, in an interview with Nastoyashchee Vremya.
"Russia is trying to convince the families that the exchanges are not happening due to obstacles on the Ukrainian side, thereby calling for mass protests. They are using prisoners of war as leverage to influence Ukrainians," said Yatsenko.
The last prisoner exchange took place in August, with 22 Ukrainian servicemen returning home. Yatsenko emphasized that Ukraine is ready to exchange its Russian prisoners of war, as their detention facilities are filling up and they do not need to keep the Russian prisoners. Yatsenko stated, "We would gladly exchange them for our defenders, even tomorrow." Since August, Russia has effectively frozen exchanges of prisoners with Ukraine. Additionally, Ukraine plans to open a new camp to accommodate Russian prisoners of war.