Donetsk, Apr 22 – DAN. The DPR currently holds nearly 3,000 Ukrainian service members captive, the Minister of Justice Yuriy Sirovatko said.

"Right now there are approximately 3,000 captive Ukrainian troops in the DPR, who voluntarily surrendered; 2,500 of them are held in the facilities under control of our Ministry," he said.

The remaining captives are at the units of the Military Commandant's Office, People's Militia units and the Ministry of State Security. The agencies investigate the extent of their participation in the crimes against civilians in Donbass.

"Many say that they repent, that they were misinformed and did not want to take part in the military action. They mostly openly despise Ukrainian authorities and their commanders who abandoned their units. Right now, they are just waiting when all of this ends," Sirovatko said.

Russia started a special military operation to denazify and demilitarize Ukraine on February 24. Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the decision was made after the DPR and LPR Heads addressed him asking for help.

The Russian leader said that Moscow is not planning to occupy Ukrainian territory, the only goal is to protect people who have been continuously shelled and subjected to other forms of genocide by Ukraine for eight years. *ot