Russia illegally detains 800 wounded Ukrainian soldiers – Ombudsman

Anastasia Pechenyuk15:01, 01/15/23

Ukraine seeks to launch the process of repatriation of wounded Ukrainian defenders.

Russia holds 800 seriously wounded Ukrainian soldiers / photo facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua
Russia holds 800 seriously wounded Ukrainian soldiers / photo facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua

The aggressor country is holding 800 wounded and seriously wounded Ukrainian defenders. According to the Geneva Conventions, they must be  transferred to Ukraine without any conditions. 

The list of these persons was handed over to the Russian side during a meeting of the ombudsmen in Ankara, Ukrainian parliamentary commissioner for human rights Dmitry Lubinets said in an interview with Ukrinform . 

but recognized that it is indeed in the Geneva Convention. We checked this together right during the conversation,” he said. 

Turkey can act as a neutral country where wounded Ukrainian defenders can be hospitalized.

“Turkey also confirmed that it is ready to take our wounded, treat them and return them home. Erdogan’s phone conversations with President Zelensky and Vladimir Putin are still ahead,” the Ukrainian Ombudsman said.

He also noted that the existing Coordination Headquarters, which ensures the exchange of prisoners from the Russian Federation, can be involved in the process of repatriation.

“Thanks to the efforts of President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Head of the Office of the President Andriy Yermak and everyone who works at the Coordination Headquarters, we have already begun systematic work when exchanges of prisoners of war are carried out on the basis of the Geneva Convention. Exchanges now take place every week, and this channel is working. We want to strengthen this direction and to start something new, in particular, repatriation. For civilians, obviously, this will be a different track. But I think it makes no sense to build a separate coordination center for it,” he said.

Exchange of prisoners from the Russian Federation  

Last year, during the exchange of prisoners from the Russian Federation, Ukraine managed to return almost 1,600 people home. First of all, Russia returns the military (1464 people last year), the exchange of civilians is much more difficult (132 people were returned last year).

On Sunday, January 8, the first prisoner exchange between Ukraine and Russia took place this year. Ukraine returned home 50 defenders. On January 14, another exchange of prisoners was supposed to take place, but, as reported by the Coordinating Headquarters for the Treatment of Prisoners of War, Russia canceled it at the last moment. Commenting on the disrupted exchange, Ukrainian intelligence emphasized that we are dealing with “the activation of rashists in the field of IPSO to destabilize the situation in the country, including now in the direction of Ukrainian prisoners of war.” 

Thousands of soldiers and tens of thousands of civilians remain in Russian captivity. At the end of December, Alena Verbitskaya, the presidential commissioner for ensuring the rights of Ukrainian defenders, reported that about 3.4 thousand defenders of Ukraine were in Russian captivity . According to the representative of the Association of Families of Azovstal Defenders Galina Klempous, about two thousand Azovstal defenders are still in captivity. 

In addition, the Ukrainian authorities have appeals from  about 20 thousand families of civilians, the disappearance of which is involved in the Russian Federation.

(C)UNIAN 2023

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