On 17 May, the lower house of the Russian parliament declared the need to recognize the Azov fighters as Nazis. This means that evacuees from Azovstal Ukrainian fighters will remain hostage to the occupiers and will be convicted.
Ukraine reacted to such a statement calmly. Deputy minister of defense of Ukraine Hanna Maliar believes that such statements are aimed at Russian spectators.
"This political statement is intended for internal propaganda and internal political processes in the Russian Federation. On our part, we can say that the negotiation process continues, and the rescue operation itself continues," the deputy minister said.
Also, the government of Ukraine assumes that the exchange can take place under special conditions and concessions. Ukraine wants to return soldiers of the Azov regiment after stabilizing their health in hospitals in the occupied territories. They were brought there on May 16-17. It is expected that Ukraine and Russia will be able to agree on an exchange of Ukrainians for Kadyrov’s men.
The Ukrainian correspondent Volodymyr Zolkyn who is interviewed by the Russian prisoners told about the peculiarities of the preferences of the Russian Federation. Russian administrators prefer to return Kadyrov’s men instantly. Russian soldiers remain in Ukrainian captivity. Perhaps Russia will agree to such an exchange of soldiers.