Nicolas Tonev (special correspondent in kyiv) / Photo credit: Paula Bronstein / GETTY IMAGES EUROPE / Getty Images via AFP (Illustration) 1:53 p.m., February 25, 2024

Two years after the start of the war in Ukraine, several thousand people were taken prisoner.

As for Ukrainian prisoners, Moscow provides little news of the soldiers or civilians locked up.

Associations are trying to fight to move these difficult issues forward. 

Two years after the start of the war in Ukraine, several thousand soldiers and civilians were taken prisoner on both sides.

If Kiev seems to respect international law with regard to the Russian soldiers it detains, this is not the case for Moscow which provides no news of the people it keeps in its jails and especially not the soldiers and prisoners. - almost 2,000 - made during the assault on the Azovstal factory in Mariupol.

During the rare exchanges of prisoners, the Ukrainians come out in sad states.

So associations are fighting as best they can to move the issues forward.


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Boxes of aid intended for released future potential are piled up in the small, dark room.

At only 27 years old, Ana fights for the still imprisoned Azovstals.

There is an emergency for them, she knows it only too well.

"My boyfriend spent a year as a prisoner. It's their physical appearance that speaks. He lost 18 kilos. There was no window in the cell. It was half in the basement, with no natural light "There were 20 of them in a room designed for eight and during the day, it was forbidden to sit down. If they sat down, they were beaten," explains the young woman.

“There are more new prisoners than people returning”

Problem: the war is raging and the prisoner bargaining chip is a rare, delicate and constantly evolving meeting point between the two belligerents.

"There are millions of possibilities to release them which are constantly studied. But everything changes all the time. It's very complicated and on arrival, exchanges are rare, returns are rare and there are more new prisoners than people returning,” she regrets.

Ana is one of those calm, cold, resolute people.

“When I close the room, my bunch of keys look like those of a guard,” she jokes.

Yes, but from a guardian angel.