Russia wants to impose a ban on exchanging Azov fighters for Russian POWs

Speaker of the Russian State Duma of Russia Vyacheslav Volodin asked the parliament committee to prepare a bill to ban an exchange of "war criminals" for prisoners. According to Volodin the fighters of the Ukrainian regiment "Azov" are “such criminals”.

The proposal not to exchange Azov fighters for prisoners of war was initially made by the Russian MP, Anatoly Wasserman. He pointed out that Ukraine considers the withdrawal of the Azov fighters the first step towards their liberation through exchange." "I consider it necessary to adopt a resolution or even a law prohibiting the exchange of any Nazi criminal," he said at a plenary session of the State Duma on Tuesday.

Volodin supported the idea. "You are making the right proposal. Nazi criminals should not be exchanged. These are war criminals, we must do everything to ensure that they are brought to justice," he said.

Since the beginning of the war, the Russian authorities have called "Nazis" and "criminals" the official Ukrainian authorities, as well as the fighters of the Azov Regiment, who were blocked in the territory of the Azovstal plant in Mariupol.

On Monday, more than 260 people, including more than 50 wounded, came out of Azovstal. They were taken to the territories controlled by Russia. The Ukrainian Armed Forces called it a "rescue operation" and stressed that soon these servicemen will be exchanged.

The General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces reported that the garrison "Mariupol" fulfilled the assigned combat mission. The commanders of the units located at Azovstal were instructed to save the lives of the personnel. The defenders of Mariupol are heroes of our time. They are forever in history," the General Staff said. The Russian Defense Ministry claims that the Ukrainian military, among whom there were Azov fighters, surrendered.

"Thanks to the actions of the Ukrainian military, intelligence, as well as the negotiating team, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the UN, we hope that it will be possible to save the lives of our guys. I want to emphasize: Ukraine needs Ukrainian heroes alive. That's our principle. I think every normal person will understand these words," said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

  Azov battalion, Mariupol, Russia