Russian POWs’ perspective on Putin’s invasion

Russian POWs' perspective on Putin's invasion

War, Prisoners of War, and the Complexities of Exchanging Lives

Imagine being in prison for murder and suddenly being offered a tempting deal: a good salary, a clean record, and only six months of service in the army. Andrey, a Russian prisoner, fell for this offer but soon realized the devastating consequences. Just two weeks after joining the front, he stepped on a mine, lost his foot, and was rescued by Ukrainian troops. Now, sitting in a prisoner-of-war camp near Lviv, Andrey eagerly awaits his possible exchange. His story is just one of many in the tumultuous world of prisoners of war (PoWs).

The numbers of PoWs fluctuate, with no official figures provided. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which strives to visit as many PoWs as possible, estimates that they have visited 1,500 on both sides of the conflict. However, they acknowledge that there are “thousands more we have not had access to.” The ICRC remains tight-lipped about which side grants them more access. This secrecy surrounding the numbers and conditions of PoWs adds to the complexity of their predicament.