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Official: Russia holds over 20,000 Ukrainian civilians hostage

by The Kyiv Independent news desk May 5, 2023 12:56 AM 1 min read
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Russia is holding over 20,000 civilians hostage, according to the estimates from Ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets reported by the Ukrainian state news outlet Ukrinform on May 4.

Lubinets predicted these estimates will increase after the liberation of the occupied territories since the residents have limited avenues to report arrests by Russian forces due to intimidation by the proxies.

“I am saying that this number is much bigger because I perfectly understand that those in temporarily occupied territories do not contact me or do so rarely. Even contacting the Ukrainian ombudsman is considered “spying” by the Russian Federation,” said Lubinets.

On May 2, the Ukrainian Reintegration Ministry launched a register of missing persons. The register will include basic information about the person, in addition to the circumstances and time of their disappearance.

According to Ukrinform, 23,760 people are documented to have gone missing due to Russia's war as of early May.

What it’s like to know your loved ones are in Russian captivity
On the evening of Feb. 24, Nataliia Sivak received a terrifying message from her younger brother, Ukrainian soldier Yakiv Nehrii. “Tell everyone I love them very much,” the message read. “We are under heavy attack.” It was the last time she heard from him. When Russia launched its full-scale war
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