Data

Prisoner exchange data for the ongoing Russian invasion in Ukraine:

I systematically collect information on all publicly announced prisoner exchanges conducted in the context of the Russian invasion in Ukraine. I rely on a systematic search procedure implemented with the online platform LexisNexis, which stores articles from various newspapers around the world including the Washington Post, BBC Worldwide Monitoring, Al Jazeera, the Guardian, the Agence France Presse, and many others. I aim to identify all publicly available reports on prisoner exchanges in the Russo-Ukrainian War. Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February 2022 and beginning from this day, I daily collected information on prisoner exchanges between Ukraine and Russia. I used the following search terms in LexisNexis to identify all articles on prisoner exchanges between Russia and Ukraine:

[“prisoner exchange” OR “prisoner swap” OR “prisoners exchange” OR “exchange of prisoners” OR “prisoners are exchanged” OR “prisoners are swapped” OR “prisoners were exchanged” OR “prisoners were swapped” OR “exchanged prisoners” OR “exchange prisoners” OR “swap prisoners” OR “detainee exchange” AND “Ukraine”]

In total, I traced 10,379 articles (as of June 5) containing the respective search terms. I systematically screened these articles to reconstruct all prisoner exchanges in the Russo-Ukrainian War. Based on this information, I created an overview of all publicly known prisoner exchanges between Russia and Ukraine. For the sake of transparency, I present all pieces of evidence and the respective sources below.

1st prisoner exchange, Tuesday, March 1 (5 Ukrainians and 1 Russian swapped): 

Five servicemen from the Ukrainian territorial defense forces (Dmytro Kvitchenko, Valeriy Poznyak, Ihor Mokrenko, Andriy Frolkov, and Oleh Solonar) were exchanged for one Russian military police officer (Yury Nikitin); where: in Sumy region; announced by the Ukrainian military officer Dmytro Zhyvytskiy and not officially confirmed

2nd prisoner exchange, Wednesday, March 16 (1 Ukrainian and 9 Russians swapped): 

The mayor of Melitopol (Ivan Fedorov) was released from Russian custody after five days of captivity in exchange for nine captured Russian soldiers (allegedly conscripts born between 2002 and 2003); officially confirmed by both sides

3rd prisoner exchange, Thursday, March 24 (29 Ukrainians and 22 Russians swapped):

10 Ukrainian border guards who were captured while defending a small island in the Black Sea where exchanged for 10 Russian servicemen; additionally a civilian prisoner exchange took place resulting in the release of 11 Russian civilian sailors (from the Millenial Spirit vessel) in return for 19 Ukrainian civilian sailors (from the rescue ship Sapphire); officially confirmed by both sides

4th prisoner exchange, Friday, April 1 (86 Ukrainians and 86 Russians swapped):

The Russian side released 71 Ukrainian servicemen and 15 servicewomen from prisoner-of-war status and received the same number of its own people in return; where: in the Zaporizhzhia region; officially confirmed by both sides

5th prisoner exchange, Saturday, April 9 (26 Ukrainians and >18 Russians swapped):

12 Ukrainian soldiers (including one female officer) and 14 Ukrainian civilian prisoners (include 9 women) released in return for 18 Russian civilian prisoners (14 sailors from the civilian ship Azov Concord and 4 employees of the State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom) and an unknown number of Russian soldiers; officially confirmed by both sides

6th prisoner exchange, Thursday, April 14 (30 Ukrainians and XX Russians swapped):

22 Ukrainian soldiers (five officers and 17 servicemen) as well as eight civilians (including one woman) were released for an unknown number of Russian soldiers

7th prisoner exchange, Friday, April 15 (5 Ukrainians and 4 Russians swapped):

Four Russian military prisoners were exchanged for five Ukrainian soldiers in the Kherson region of southern Ukraine (in the area of Posad-Pokrovské village)

8th prisoner exchange, Tuesday, April 19 (76 Ukrainians and XXX Russians swapped):

Kyiv exchanged 60 soldiers (including 10 officers) and 16 civilians for an unknown number of Russian soldiers

9th prisoner exchange, Thursday, April 21 (19 Ukrainians and XXX Russians swapped):

10 Ukrainian military personnel (including two officers) and 9 civilians were released for an unknown number of Russian soldiers; wounded people were among the released;

10th prisoner exchange, Thursday, April 28 (45 Ukrainians and XXX Russians swapped):

Russia has handed over 33 Ukrainian soldier (including 13 officers) and 12 civilians in an exchange of prisoners of war with Ukraine; the number of Russians exchanged is unknown

11th prisoner exchange, Saturday, April 30 (14 Ukrainians and XXX Russians swapped):

Ukraine had secured the release of 14 people, half civilians and half soldiers, including a female officer who is five months pregnant; unclear how many Russians troops had been returned to Moscow

12th prisoner exchange, Friday, May 6 (41 Ukrainians and XXX Russians swapped):

Russia has handed over 41 people, including 28 military and 13 civilians (11 women), in a prisoner exchange with Ukraine, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said on Friday; a priest of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine among those liberated

13th prisoner exchange, Thursday, June 2 (XXX Ukrainians and 2 Russians swapped):

Two servicemen of the People’s Militia of the Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) have returned home as a result of a prisoner exchange with Ukraine; number of Ukrainians exchanged unclear


Total number of Ukrainians exchanged: 377

Among them Ukrainian soldiers: 278

Among them Ukrainian officers: 32

Among them Ukrainian civilians: 99

Average number of Ukrainian prisoners released per exchange:  31.4


Sources for the 1st prisoner exchange on March 1:

Radio Free Europe – March 1, 2022:

„A Ukrainian regional military administration chief says one Russian military police officer has been exchanged for five Ukrainian servicemen. Ukraine and Russia have exchanged prisoners for the first time since Russia launched a full-scale military attack against Ukraine last week, according to a Ukrainian military leader. The chief of the military administration of Ukraine’s northeastern region of Sumy, Dmytro Zhyvytskiy, said on March 1 on Telegram that the exchange took place in Sumy. A captured Russian military police officer, Yury Nikitin, born in 1997, from the Siberian city of Omsk, was exchanged for five Ukrainian soldiers — Dmytro Kvitchenko, Valeriy Poznyak, Ihor Mokrenko, Andriy Frolkov, and Oleh Solonar. The first exchange of prisoners took place in Sumy region. We exchanged our five people from the territorial defense for one Russian military police officer,“ Zhyvytskiy said on Telegram.“

Voice of America News – March 1, 2022:

„Russia and Ukraine had their first prisoner exchange Tuesday since the Kremlin ordered the invasion of its neighbor six days ago,… Amid the stepped-up fighting, the sides effected their first prisoner swap. A Ukrainian military official in the Sumy region, Dmytro Zhyvytskiy, said in a Telegram announcement there had been a prisoner swap. „The first exchange of prisoners took place in Sumy region. We exchanged our five people from the territorial defense for one Russian military police officer,“ Zhyvytskiy said.“

 

Sources for the 2nd prisoner exchange on March 16:

The Times of Israel – March 17, 2022:

„Russian forces released the mayor the Ukrainian city of Melitopol as part of a prisoner exchange deal, according to Ukrainian media. Russian troops abducted Mayor Ivan Fedorov five days ago and let him go today. He was released in exchange for nine Russian conscript soldiers, all 18 or 19 years old, a Ukrainian government spokesperson says, according to the Kyiv Independent.

The Telegraph – March 17, 2022:

„The kidnapped mayor of a Ukrainian city thanked Voldoymyr Zelensky for not abandoning him after he was released in a prisoner exchange with Russian forces. Ivan Fedorov, the mayor of Melitopol, was abducted last week by Russian troops who dragged him away with a bag over his head. (…) Ukraine handed over nine young captured Russian soldiers to secure his freedom, the Interfax Ukraine news agency reported.“

CE Noticias Financieras English – March 16, 2022:

„The mayor of Melitopol, Ivan Fedorov, has been released as part of a prisoner exchange after allegedly being kidnapped last Saturday by Russian troops, Ukrainian authorities have confirmed. At first, the deputy director of the Ukrainian Presidential Office, Kirilo Timoshenko, announced on his Telegram channel that Fedorov was „already safe,“ Ukrainian news agency Unian reported. In a brief video statement, Tymoshenko confirmed that the special operation to rescue the mayor of Melitopol was successfully completed. „We never left our people. Very soon Ivan will return to his duties as mayor,“ she added. Subsequently, the Ukrainian news agency Ukrinform has reported that he has been exchanged for nine Russian soldiers, allegedly conscripts born between 2002 and 2003, the adviser to the head of the President’s Office, Daria Zarivna, has said.“

 

Sources for the 3rd prisoner exchange on March 24:

The Guardian – March 24, 2022:

„Ukraine’s vice-prime minister, Iryna Vereshchuk, said writing the first „full-fledged exchange of prisoners of war took place“ where 10 „captured occupiers“ were exchanged for 10 Ukrainian servicemen.“

UPI – March 24, 202:

„Ukraine conducted a prisoner swap with Russia which freed 10 border guards who were captured while defending a small island in the Black Sea, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said Thursday. Vereshchuk announced the two countries each exchanged 10 prisoners of war, the first large-scale exchange of the conflict that began with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February. „In exchange for 10 captured occupiers we rescued 10 of our servicemen,“ she wrote on Facebook. […] Both sides also exchanged a number of civilian prisoners, including more than a dozen Ukrainian sailors, plucked from the Black Sea as their ship sank in February. „Also, today we sent 11 Russian civilian sailors to the Russians, whom we rescued from a sunken ship near Odessa. As a result of this exchange, 19 Ukrainian civilian sailors are returning home from the rescue ship Sapphire, which was captured by the occupiers while trying to take our troops from Snake Island. „Under the terms of the exchange, the lifeboat itself will also be returned to Ukraine and sent to a port in Turkey,“ Vereshchuk wrote.“

Agence France Presse – March 24, 2022:

„Russia and Ukraine have exchanged prisoners, Kyiv and Moscow confirmed Thursday, in what Ukraine said was the first swap of soldiers since Moscow ordered troops into Ukraine one month ago. „Following an order from President Volodymyr Zelensky, the first fully-fledged exchange of prisoners of war has taken place,“ Ukrainian Vice Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk wrote on Facebook. „In exchange for 10 captured occupiers we rescued 10 of our servicemen,“ she said, referring to Russian and Ukrainian troops. Vereshchuk also said that 11 Russian civilian seamen rescued near the Black Sea port city of Odessa were exchanged for 19 Ukrainian civilian ship crew members held by Moscow. „I confirm the information regarding the exchange of 10 Russian servicemen detained on Ukrainian territory for 10 Ukrainian servicemen. And there was also an exchange of Russian civilian sailors for Ukrainian civilian sailors“, said Russian human rights ombudsman Tatiana Moskalkova.“

BBC Monitoring Former Soviet Union – March 24, 2022:

„Russia’s human rights commissioner Tatyana Moskalkova has confirmed that Russia and Ukraine have exchanged prisoners of war. Ten Russian military personnel were exchanged for 10 Ukrainian military personnel, the Russian news agency Interfax quoted Moskalkova as saying on 24 March. Also, Russian civilian sailors from the Millenial Spirit vessel were exchanged for Ukrainian civilian sailors from the Sapfir (Sapphire) rescue vessel, Moskalkova said.“

 

Sources for the 4th prisoner exchange on April 1:

Washington Post – April 1, 2022:

„86 Ukrainian service members from the Zaporizhzhia region, including 15 women, have been freed in a prisoner exchange with Russian forces, Ukrainian presidential adviser Yulia Tymoshenko and Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk announced Friday. “

CNN NEWSROOM – April 1, 2022:

„A Ukrainian negotiator says talks between Russia and Ukraine enabled a prisoner swap and Ukraine got 86 servicemembers back, and they hope to continue and get more prisoners out of Russian hands. Now the Ukrainians are saying that a prisoner swap has now happened thanks to those talks. They say they got 86 servicemembers back, including several female servicemembers as well.“

dpa international – April 1, 2022:

„The Russian side released 71 Ukrainian servicemen and 15 servicewomen from prisoner-of-war status and received the same number of its own people in return, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk wrote on Facebook on Friday. “

BBC Monitoring Former Soviet Union – April 5, 2022:

„The Kremlin’s human rights commissioner says Russia and Ukraine have carried out an exchange of captives. In a statement on 5 April reported by Interfax news agency, Tatyana Moskalkova said 86 Russians had been swapped for 86 Ukrainians. „The most recent swap was 86 for 86,“ she said.“

 

Sources for the 5th prisoner exchange on April 9:

BBC Monitoring Kiev Unit – April 9, 2022:

„Ukraine and Russia have swapped prisoners of war as a result of which 12 Ukrainian service personnel and 14 civilians were released, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for the Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories Iryna Vereshchuk has said on her Telegram channel. „As ordered by President Zelensky, a third swap of POWs was held today. Twelve service personnel, including a female officer, and 14 civilians, including nine women, were released. Altogether, 26 our people,“ Vershchuk said.“

Radio Free Europe – April 9, 202:

„The Ukrainian government has said it conducted a prisoner exchange with Moscow, with 12 Ukrainian soldiers and 14 civilians returning home following their release by Russian forces. „On the order of President [Volodymyr] Zelenskiy, the third prisoner exchange took place today. Twelve of our servicemen are returning home, including one female officer,“ Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said on Telegram on April 9. She said nine women were among the 14 civilians released. She did not say how many Russians had been released.“

TASS – April 10, 2022:

„Russian Human Rights Commissioner Tatyana Moskalkova confirmed on Sunday that there had been another exchange of prisoners of war between Russia and Ukraine. „There was another exchange of Russian and Ukrainian prisoners last night. Among them were four Rosatom employees and our brave servicemen. They landed on Russian soil today early in the morning,“ Moskalkova’s Telegram channel said.“

 

Sources for the 6th prisoner exchange on April 14:

The Guardian – April 14, 2022:

„Russia and Ukraine swapped prisoners on Thursday for the fourth time. Ukraine’s deputy prime minister, Iryna Vereshchuk, said that 17 soldiers, five officers, and eight civilians were released from Russian captivity.“

BBC Monitoring Kiev Unit – April 14, 2022:

„Ukraine has returned 30 of its citizens as a result of a prisoner swap, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk has said. „In line with the order by President [Volodymyr] Zelensky, another, fourth, exchange of prisoners of war has taken place. We swapped back five officers and 15 rank-and-file servicemen. Also, eight civilians, including a woman, were released, too,“ Vereshchuk said, as quoted by the Ukrayinska Pravda website on 14 April.“

Agence France Presse – April 14, 2022:

„Ukraine said Thursday that 30 prisoners of war were being returned to the country as part of the most recent exchange of captives with Russia, following an order from President Volodymyr Zelensky. „Five officers and 17 servicemen were exchanged. Also eight civilians, including one woman, were released. In total, 30 of our citizens are going home today,“ Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said in a statement on social media.“

 

Sources for the 7th prisoner exchange on April 15:

CE Noticias Financieras English – April 15, 2022:

„A new exchange of Russian and Ukrainian prisoners of war took place Friday in the Kherson region of southern Ukraine, an area that is partially under Russian control, the Ukrainian military announced Friday. „After tense negotiations, we managed to agree on a prisoner exchange in the area of Posad-Pokrovské village, where four Russian prisoners were exchanged for five of ours,“ the Ukrainian army’s southern command said on its Facebook page. Kherson has been under control of the Russian army since the beginning of March, as well as other localities of this coastal region.“

Agence France Presse – April 15, 2022:

„After tense negotiations, we managed to reach agreements on a prisoner exchange near the village of Posad-Pokrovskoye, where four Russian military personnel were exchanged for our five,“ Ukraine’s defence ministry said.“

 

Sources for the 8th prisoner exchange on April 19:

The Guardian – April 19, 2022:

„Ukraine’s deputy prime minister, Iryna Vereshchuk, said 76 prisoners of war have returned in an exchange with Moscow, AFP reports. Vereshchuk said Russia had handed over 60 soldiers, including 10 officers, and 16 civilians, but did not give details on how many Russians were involved in the prisoner swap.“

The Times – April 19, 2022:

„Russia yesterday handed over 60 soldiers and 16 civilians to Ukraine in an exchange of prisoners of war, the Ukrainian deputy prime minister said. „This was the fifth exchange of prisoners of war. A total of 76 people,“ Iryna Vereshchuk, who is in charge of prisoner swaps, said in a statement. The swap included ten Ukrainian officers.“

dpa-AFX International – April 19, 2022:

„There has been another prisoner exchange in Russia’s war on Ukraine, according to Kiev. „Today we exchanged 60 soldiers, including 10 officers,“ Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk reported via the Telegram news channel. In addition, 16 civilians had been handed over to Kiev. She did not say where the exchange took place or how many Russians were exchanged in return. Moscow did not comment on the matter at first.“

 

Sources for the 9th prisoner exchange on April 21:

USA Today Online – April 21, 2022:

„Nineteen Ukrainians were released from Russian captivity Thursday in a second prisoner swap to take place this week, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister Iryna Vereschuk said in a Facebook post. „Today we bring home 19 people, including 10 military (including 2 officers) and 9 civilians,“ she wrote. „This time there are wounded among the fired, and this is very important. Well now they will be able to get full treatment and go through a rehabilitation course.“ She credited President Volodymyr Zelensky’s „constant personal involvement“ in the process. The release came two days after 76 Ukrainians, including 60 soldiers, were returned to their families. The number of Russian prisoners involved in the exchange was not released, but previous exchanges have involved equal numbers of Ukrainians and Russians.“

WebNews Southern Illinoisan – April 21, 2022:

„Nineteen Ukrainians were released from Russian captivity Thursday in a second prisoner swap to take place this week KYIV, Ukraine — 19 Ukrainians were released from Russian captivity Thursday in a second prisoner swap to take place this week, Ukraine’s deputy PM Iryna Vereschuk said in a Facebook post that same day.“

WebNews MarketBeat – April 21, 2022:

„19 Ukrainians were released from Russian captivity Thursday in a second prisoner swap to take place this week, Ukraine’s deputy PM Iryna Vereschuk said in a Facebook post that same day. “Another prisoner exchange has taken place. This time, there are wounded people among those released, which is very important. Now they will be able to receive full treatment and undergo a course of rehabilitation,” Vereshchuk wrote. Later on Thursday, Ukrainian media reported that the former captives include nine civilians and ten military personnel, two of whom are officers.“

WebNews TheWeek – April 21, 2022:

„As many as 19 Ukrainians were released from Russian captivity Thursday in a second prisoner swap to take place this week, Ukraine’s deputy PM Iryna Vereschuk said in a Facebook post. “Another prisoner exchange has taken place. This time, there are wounded people among those released, which is very important. Now they will be able to receive full treatment and undergo a course of rehabilitation,” Vereshchuk wrote. Later on Thursday, Ukrainian media reported that the former captives include nine civilians and 10 military personnel, two of whom are officers.“

 

Sources for the 10th prisoner exchange on April 28:

The Guardian – April 28, 2022:

„Ukraine’s deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk said Russia has handed over 12 civilians and 33 soldiers, including 13 officers, in an exchange of prisoners of war with Kyiv.“

The Telegraph – April 28, 2022:

„Russia hands over 45 Ukrainian soldiers in prisoner exchange. Kyiv on Thursday said 45 Ukrainian soldiers and civilians captured by Russia had been released in a new prisoner exchange , without saying how many Russians were released. „Another prisoner exchange has taken place. Today, 45 of our men were freed from Russian captivity,“ Iryna Vereshchuk, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister, said in a statement on Telegram. Among those released were 13 military officers and 20 soldiers as well as 12 civilians, she said. There was no immediate confirmation from Moscow about the swap or how many Russian prisoners had been freed.“

 

Sources for the 11th prisoner exchange on April 30:

BBC Monitoring Kiev Unit – April 30, 2022:

„Fourteen Ukrainian citizens have been exchanged for Russians in a new prisoner swap, the minister for the reintegration of the temporarily occupied territories, Iryna Vereshchuk, has said. „[War] prisoners were exchanged today. We are bringing back home 14 of our people: seven service personnel and seven civilians. For me, this exchange is special: one of the service personnel is in her fifth month of pregnancy. God bless you!“ Vereshchuk said on Telegram on 30 April.

dpa-AFX International ProFeed -April 30, 2022:

„According to information from Kiev, 14 Ukrainians have been released in a new prisoner exchange with Russia. Seven civilians and seven soldiers were involved, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk announced on Saturday. There was initially no confirmation from the Russian side. According to Vereshchuk, a total of around 1,000 Ukrainian civilians and 700 military personnel are said to be in Russian custody. Ukraine, for its part, had also taken around 700 Russian soldiers as prisoners of war.“

Agence France Presse – April 30, 2022:

„Fourteen Ukrainians including a pregnant soldier have been freed in the latest prisoner exchange with Russian forces, Ukraine said on Saturday, without revealing the number of Russians returned to Moscow. „Today, we carried out a new exchange of prisoners. Fourteen of ours are coming home, seven military and seven civilians. One of the military women is five months pregnant,“ Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said on Telegram.“

 

Sources for the 12th prisoner exchange on May 6:

BBC Monitoring Kiev Unit – May 6, 2022:

„Forty-one Ukrainian nationals have been freed in a new prisoner swap with Russia, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Verershchuk has said. „Another prisoner swap has taken place. Forty-one citizens, including 11 women, have returned. Some 28 soldiers and 13 civilians are coming home. It is especially joyous that there is a priest of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine among those liberated,“ Vereshchuck said on Telegram on 6 May.“

Agence France Presse – May 6, 2022:

„Over 40 Ukrainian soldiers and civilians captured by Russia, among them 11 women and a cleric, have been freed in a new prisoner exchange, Kyiv said Friday. „Another prisoner exchange has taken place: 41 people, including 11 women were brought home,“ Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said in a statement on Telegram. Among those released were 28 soldiers and 13 civilians, one of whom was a member of the clergy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. She did not say how many Russians were released in exchange.“

 

Sources for the 13th prisoner exchange on June 2:

Russia & CIS General Newswire – June 2, 2022:

„Two servicemen of the People’s Militia of the Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) have returned home as a result of a prisoner exchange with Ukraine, Russian Human Rights Commissioner Tatyana Moskalkova said in a letter to Sergei Mironov, leader of the party A Just Russia – For Truth.“

BBC Monitoring Former Soviet Union – June 2, 2022:

„Russia’s most senior human rights official says two members of the so-called people’s militia of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic have been freed by Ukraine in the latest prisoner swap. The swap was revealed in a letter Tatyana Moskalkova sent to Russian MP Sergei Mironov, leader of one of the smaller pro-Kremlin parties in the State Duma, Interfax news agency reported on 2 June. According to the report, the letter identified one of the men as Sergei Khmara, the other as I.I. Tkachuk.“

 

 


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Disclaimer: The provided information can be only as accurate as the underlying public sources. It is possible that not all prisoner exchanges that took place were (correctly) reported in the public media. Collecting data during ongoing conflicts is inherently error-prone and there is a substantial risk of under-counting the actual number of events.