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Ambassador: Russia holds 500 Ukrainian medical workers captive

by Martin Fornusek December 8, 2023 12:17 PM 2 min read
Ukrainian military paramedics evacuate a wounded serviceman from the front line near Bakhmut on March 23, 2023. (ARIS MESSINIS/AFP via Getty Images)
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Russia holds almost 500 Ukrainian medical workers captive, Ukraine's ambassador to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) said, calling it a violation of the Geneva Conventions, Ukrinform reported on Dec. 8.

Moscow has been repeatedly accused of violating international humanitarian conventions, most recently when a group of allegedly Russian soldiers was recorded allegedly executing two Ukrainian prisoners of war.

The video of the execution is being investigated by Ukrainian authorities.

"They (medics) can only be detained to provide medical assistance to Ukrainian prisoners of war and must be released as soon as their assistance is no longer needed," said Yevhenii Tsimbaliuk, representing Ukraine at the OSCE Permanent Council.

"According to available data, there are about 500 medical workers in...(Russian detention)," he said during the council's meeting in Vienna on Dec. 7.

The Geneva Conventions say that medical personnel "shall be respected and protected under all circumstances."

They "may not be retained after they have fallen into the hands of the enemy" except for mutually agreed cases to provide medical care to their captured compatriots.

Tsimbaliuk added that Russia has not provided the International Red Cross with unimpeded access to Ukrainian prisoners of war.

Moscow's full-scale invasion of Ukraine wrought extensive damage to the country's medical infrastructure. Almost 1,700 medical facilities were destroyed or damaged, of which around 850 have been restored, the Ukrainian Health Ministry said.

A report by a coalition of Ukrainian and international institutions said that as of summer, 148 medical workers were killed and 106 were wounded due to Russia's war.

Health Ministry: Ukraine restores almost 850 medical facilities damaged by Russia
Of the 1,474 medical facilities damaged by Russia since the start of the full-scale war, Ukraine had completely or partially restored 847, the Health Ministry said on Dec. 7.
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