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Russian Armed Forces Kremlin War in Ukraine

EXPLAINED: Why Russia Doesn't Want Its POWs Back

The Kremlin appears to be employing a deliberate tactic of abandoning its own troops to avoid domestic embarrassment as well as sow discord in Ukrainian society.

For nearly four months now, there have been no prisoner swaps between Ukraine and Russia, the last one taking place on August 7 during which 22 Ukrainian soldiers were returned home.

But since then, thousands of Ukrainian POWs have been languishing in Russian captivity, while rising rates of desertions mean the number of Russian POWs in Ukrainian captivity continues to increase.

Ukraine says the stalling of prisoner swaps is due to obstruction on the part of Russia and Russian POWs interviewed by Kyiv Post said they have been abandoned by the Kremlin.

So why is Russia not doing anything to get its own men back? 

In this video we look at the current situation with POW swaps, possible reasons for Russia’s reluctance to take their men back, what Russian POWs say about their predicament and Ukraine’s response.

More on this topic...

As Russia’s 21-month war in Ukraine drags on, reports are appearing that the numbers of its mobilized soldiers seeking to desert are surging.

On Tuesday the Moscow Times quoted the Georgian-based group Idite Lesom that aids troops attempting to leave Putin’s army, saying it had experienced an 89 percent increase in requests for assistance over the past few months.

The group’s name translates literally from Russian to “go through the forest,” although among troops it is more often used as a curse roughly equivalent to “get lost” or even “go f*** yourself.”

Grigory Sverdlin, founder and leader of the group said that between June and August it had received 305 requests for help but between September and November this number had almost doubled.

Read the full report here.


Comments (3)
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At this point the Russians POWs have a decision to make. They have been either duped / coerced into putin's illegal war or the suffer from the same unrecoverable psycopathic ailment as their current thug leadership. As invaders these Russian POWs acts to date have been in the minimal criminal. Their illegal invasion of Ukraine has resulted in their nation being internationally isolated and facing sanctions and reparation expenses that will postpone their nations prosperity. If they want to be reaccepted into civilized circles they must now make amends. Those awakened and now truly repentant need to join the Russian resistance as it works to dispose of putin's regime. Their service will be both personally cathartic.

However if investigations suggest they have intentionally acted cruelly and immorally on the battlefield and they continue to share putin's warped views, they are not worth trusting. As with prison chain gangs of the past, I think it is fair they repay Ukraine in hard, but humane labour at least until the war ends. After a post war swap, the future russian administration will then be tasked with whether they are redeemable for some greater societal purpose, or need continued incarceration.
fletcher long
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they should be turned over to the red cross for transfer to farming and other labor camps in the u.s., much as happened with nazi pow's
K E Lidington
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It is said that Ukraine has substituted prisoners name on agreed swap lists with others of a lower rank or value. I do not know if that is true, part true of just propaganda. There is a logic to stopping POWs from returning with experiences far better than are portrayed by the authorities that sent them into battle and the failure to get the release of Ukrainian POWs can also be used ad a tactic to increase discontent in Ukraine and undermine Ukrainian resistance to the invasion. There should perhaps be more attention paid to rebutting the Ukrainian 'manipulation' or 'abuse' of POW exchanges. This could be a constructive countermeasure.