After the exchange of prisoners between Moscow and Kyiv on September 7, Human Rights Commissioner of the Verkhovna Rada, Lyudmyla Denisova, said in an interview with RBC news agency that Ukraine is interested in the release of another 113 Ukrainian prisoners who are in custody in Russia. She did not comment on how many people Russia would like to exchange. Moscow has not yet published an official list of persons who have returned to Russia.
"Now, there are 113 [arrested] Ukrainian citizens on the territory of Russia and in the occupied Crimea," said Denisova.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also commented on the importance of releasing the remaining Ukrainians held in Russia. According to him, the next step in negotiations could be the release of the Crimean Tatar activists. "I think it will be the next step and we will be working on it. We'll get all our people back. We will release them because many of our people are still in custody in Crimea," said Ukrainian President, answering the question of the "Krym.Realii" (Radio Liberty project) correspondent. Zelensky expects that the exchange should happen soon. "We are not talking about a year, or two, or three. We want to do it very quickly. This is what we dream about and what we actively work on," he said.
The exchange of prisoners on Saturday was the largest exchange between Russia and Ukraine since 2014. The preparations took several months, but the decisive phase started after a telephone conversation between the presidents of Russia and Ukraine on August 7, said Denisova. After this conversation, working groups were formed, which were headed by the assistant of Ukrainian President Andriy Ermak from the Ukrainian side, and Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak from the Russian side.