MOSCOW, May 26. /TASS/. The number of Ukrainian POWs in the Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics (LPR and DPR) is currently about 8,000 and growing, Ambassador of the Lugansk People’s Republic to Russia Rodion Miroshnik told the Soloviev Live program on Thursday.
"There are a lot of POWs. Of course, there are more of them on the territory of the Donetsk People’s Republic but we also have a lot, and now the total number is around 8,000. This is a lot, and literally hundreds are being added daily," the envoy said.
According to the diplomat, the number of captured and killed Ukrainian servicemen in Donbass will increase since their commanders are deploying the units of territorial defense drafted from among the civilians instead of the units of regular army or nationalist formations. "Currently, there is an active advancement towards Slavyansk, Kramatorsk, there are a lot of small fortified areas, and, in my opinion, the number will grow, and both the number of POWs and of those killed, since now instead of the trained units of Ukraine’s armed forces or the nationalist battalions, the territorial defense battalions are being sent to the frontline," he explained.
"Those are the people who were handed weapons and essentially were promised that they will defend their vegetable lots, stand at roadblocks somewhere about two thousand kilometers away from the line of engagement. Yet they were loaded on trains and brought to Donbass. Now they surrender or die on a rather large scale because they are not ready to wage this war," the ambassador added.
The situation at the Donbass engagement line flared up on February 17. The self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics reported the most massive bombardments by the Ukrainian armed forces over the past months. On February 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a decision to recognize the sovereignty of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. The treaties on friendship, cooperation and mutual aid were signed with their leaders. On February 22, the State Duma and the Federation Council ratified both documents and Putin signed the respective laws on the same day. Putin said in a televised address on February 24 that in response to a request by the heads of the Donbass republics he had made a decision to carry out a special military operation in order to protect people "who have been suffering from abuse and genocide by the Kiev regime for eight years.".