Ukraine’s human rights ombudsman voiced hope on Jan. 3 that another prisoner exchange between Ukraine and Russia may take place in the coming weeks.
"I hope that this year the exchange process will show consistency. I hope that in the coming weeks we will be able to welcome our heroes home again," Dmytro Lubinets said on air during TV Marathon, a united news program produced by the country's biggest media outlets and broadcasts 24/7 on all major Ukrainian TV channels.
Lubinet's announcement followed the Jan. 3 prisoner swap, the largest exchange since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion, that saw 230 Ukrainian prisoners of war returning home.
Most returned POWs were privates and sergeants. Five women were freed during this prisoner swap, the Coordination Headquarters for the Treatment of the Prisoners of War reported. The United Arab Emirates participated in facilitating the exchange.
The most recent previous prisoner swap between Ukraine and Russia took place in August last year after which, according to Ukrainian officials, Moscow had refused to continue the practice in an alleged effort to turn Ukrainian families of POWs against their own authorities.
Over the past two weeks, according to Lubinets, there has been "some progress in negotiations with Russia": mutual visits to prisoners of war, mutual exchange of warm clothes, and the return of prisoners.