Donbas separatists want to exchange prisoners on an ‘all-for-all’ basis, or 527 POWs held by Ukraine for 42 POWs held, they claim, by the separatists, Darina Morozova, a self-appointed ombudswoman if the Donetsk separatist republic told Interfax, Ukrayinska Pravda reports Jan. 10.
However, according to the Ukrainian estimates the number of Ukrainian POWs held by the separatists is much larger, reaching nearly 260, but the separatists disagree with their number.
Earlier, Rada lawmaker Nadiya Savchenko, recently released from a Moscow jail, published a full list of Ukrainian servicemen and civilians comprising 256 persons illegally detained by the separatists
Ukrainian analysts agree that Moscow uses the issue of Ukrainian POWs as a bargaining chip, trying to blackmail Kyiv into concessions.
Some experts say that there is no sufficient political will on the part of Ukraine to push for the exchange of POWs. There are still Russian businesses and banks operating in Ukraine which Kyiv can use to apply more pressure on Vladimir Putin.