Moscow on Wednesday said it would be “premature” to consider exchanging prisoners with Kiev before facing trial for Ukrainian soldiers who have surrendered to Russian troops.
Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko said Moscow would consider exchanging prisoners with Kiev after the surrendered Ukrainian fighters were “duly convicted and punished”.
“Before that, all talks on the exchange were premature,” Rudenko told reporters, quoting a Russian news agency.
Last week, hundreds of Ukrainian guards in the country’s southeastern strategic port city of Mariupol surrendered after being trapped in the city’s Azvastal steelworks for weeks.
Among the Ukrainian fighters who surrendered were members of the Azov Regiment, a former paramilitary unit that has integrated into the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
Russia describes the unit, which previously had ties to far-right groups, as a neo-Nazi organization.
On Monday, a Kiev court found Russian soldier Vadim Shishimarin guilty of war crimes for killing an unarmed civilian and sentenced him to life in prison.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and was published from a syndicated feed.)