Russia’s parliament discussed a proposed law on Tuesday that would ban prisoner exchanges in the Ukrainian war after around 250 Ukrainian soldiers surrendered to Russian forces in Mariupol.
The Azov Regiment that was holding out in a steel plant in Mariupol recently surrendered to Russian forces as dozens of soldiers were wounded and needed medical attention with no escape.
One member of Russian parliament, in a translated video, described the group as a “Nazi” militia and denounced a prisoner swap with the soldiers.
“It is clear that the exchange of at least one of these criminals will be announced by the collective West as a victory for Ukraine,” the member said, adding there should be a law against exchanging the prisoners.
Vyacheslav Volodin, speaker of the State Duma, agreed, saying “Nazi criminals” should not be exchanged and saying they’ll work to create the law.
“They are war criminals and we must do everything to bring them to justice,” he added to the applause of Parliament.
The discussion came hours after Russia claimed more than 250 Ukrainian soldiers surrendered in Mariupol, Reuters reported.
If the law were to go in place, it is unclear what would happen to the soldiers, with some in Parliament suggesting they should be killed.
“They do not deserve to live after the monstrous crimes against humanity that they have committed and that are committed continuously against our prisoners,” Leonid Slutsky, chairman of the international affairs committee and negotiator in talks with Ukraine, said, according to Reuters.
Russia and Ukraine have conducted multiple prisoner swaps since the war began, with both sides getting dozens of their people back.