KATERYNA TYSHCHENKO – SATURDAY, 17 SEPTEMBER 2022, 21:15
Ukrainian forces captured several hundred Russian soldiers during the counteroffensive in Kharkiv Oblast, thus making a significant contribution to Ukraine’s POW exchange fund.
Quote from Zelenskyy: "In any case, I can tell you honestly that Russia holds more our soldiers prisoners than we hold Russian soldiers or mercenaries who work for the Russian Federation, the terrorists. So our goal is to replenish this fund [the prisoner exchange fund – ed.].
I address Russian soldiers: it will be right for them to surrender. We treat them as prisoners of war in accordance with the Geneva Conventions. Our goal is to have more of them, so that we can return our [soldiers held in Russia]. So we have the goal to replenish the fund.
And to be honest, this operation [the counteroffensive in Kharkiv Oblast - ed.] has allowed us to make a significant contribution to the [prisoner exchange] fund."
Details: When asked how many Russian soldiers were captured during the counteroffensive, Zelenskyy said there were "hundreds" of them.
The Armed Forces of Ukraine launched a counteroffensive in Kherson Oblast in late August, and soon also launched a counteroffensive in Kharkiv Oblast.
On 10 September, the Institute for the Study of War reported that Ukrainian forces have penetrated Russian lines to a depth of up to 70 kilometres in some places and reclaimed over 3,000 square kilometres of territory in the past five days since 6 September, which is more than Russian forces had captured in all their operations since April.
Though Russian forces were leaving behind much of their military equipment as they fled from Kharkiv Oblast, the Russian Ministry of Defence called their withdrawal a "planned regrouping" whose aim was to ramp up the offensive on the Donetsk front.