Ukraine’s so-called exchange fund is much smaller than Russia’s.
“We have a much smaller [exchange fund] than the Russian Federation has. It’s true. Because in the first days of the invasion, the Russian Federation seized a terrible number of hostages here, including civilians, pensioners of the security forces, ordinary people who, they believed, were somehow dangerous to them, and so on. Therefore, our numbers are, unfortunately, lower. It must be understood. And, unfortunately, I think we will not be able to catch up with those numbers,” Kyrylo Budanov, Chief of the Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine, said in an interview with Radio Liberty’s Crimea.Realities project.
He declined to name exact figures, saying that the size of the so-called exchange fund is a state secret.
The military intelligence chief also noted that about 20% of captured Russian soldiers surrendered voluntarily.
“It’s about 20% for sure. They just say, ‘I’m scared; I don’t want anything’,” Budanov said.
As a reminder, the latest prisoner swap took place on 7 August. Ukraine returned another 22 soldiers from Russian captivity. In total, 2,598 Ukrainians have been freed from captivity since the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion.
Earlier, Budanov estimated that about 40% of those held captive by Russia were civilians, and the rest were service members.