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Over 2,500 Ukrainian Azovstal fighters held by Russia – President Zelenskyy

Monday, 6 June 2022, 17:42

VALENTYNA ROMANENKO – MONDAY, 6 JUNE 2022, 17:42

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine has confirmed that over 2,500 Ukrainian soldiers who were defending the Azovstal plant in Mariupol are currently held by Russia. The Chief Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine is working on freeing them.

Source: Zelenskyy during a press conference on Monday, 6 June, cited in Interfax Ukraine

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Quote: "The Chief Intelligence Directorate of Ukraine is currently working on this issue [i.e., the issue of prisoner exchange - ed.]. A special coordinating body has been created within the Chief Intelligence Directorate [to work on the issue of prisoner exchange - ed.]. The [Ukrainian - ed.] prisoners of war are, unfortunately, held by the Russian Federation…

We know what it’s like to cut deals with Russia, we know the price we will have to pay. We know that they cannot be trusted…The Chief Intelligence Directorate has to continue working on this issue and has to find a solution. There is only one possible solution – to return those people home."

Details: According to Zelenskyy, Russia is holding over 2,500 Ukrainian soldiers who were defending the Azovstal plant in Mariupol.

He noted that the first task the Chief Intelligence Directorate had to solve was ensuring that the Ukrainian soldiers leave Azovstal alive, and that this goal has been accomplished.

Quote: "The first part [of the Chief Intelligence Directorate’s mission - ed.] was to ensure the people come out alive. I believe that the Chief Intelligence Directorate has accomplished this first goal. Today we have to address the next part: to return them home alive…They [the Chief Intelligence Directorate - ed.] are the best experts in that…I personally trust them. We are expecting results from them. But we can’t keep asking them every day: ‘So how’s it going?’

This is a complicated endeavour. Let’s hope that they will accomplish their mission."

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