Russian woman who traveled to Ukraine for her POW husband says she plans to stay and help other prisoners
Irina Krynina, a woman from the Russian city of Krasnoyarsk who traveled to Ukraine to be with her husband after he was taken captive, announced Monday that she’s decided to stay in the country to help other POWs. Her husband, however, plans to return to Russia.
Krynina first went to Ukraine in September as the inaugural participant in a program run by Ukraine’s Main Intelligence Directorate called “Return the Husband to his Wife.” Her reunion with her common-law husband, Yevgeny Kovtkov, was filmed and shared on YouTube by the Ukrainian activist and blogger Volodymyr Zolkin.
During the couple’s initial meeting, Kovtkov was unable to decide whether to stay in captivity and wait for a prisoner swap or to take part in the Ukrainian program and stay permanently in Ukraine or a third country. (It was already too late for Krynina, who made strong anti-war and anti-Putin statements in the reunion video, to safely return to Russia.)
Kovtkov was ultimately allowed to take some time to make up his mind, while Krynina began working for the Ukrainian government’s “I Want to Live” program, where she helps Russian women find their husbands and sons who were drafted and subsequently became POWs or went missing.
In a new video on her YouTube channel, Irina Krynina announced that her husband has decided to return home. “He opted not to do the ‘Return the Husband to his Wife’ program. He said he wants to wait for an exchange and return to Russia,” she said. “And I decided that I’m going to stay in Ukraine, help POWs, search for missing people, and try to bring an end to the war, because every day of the war means new deaths, new sorrows, and new misfortunes.”
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