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Ombudsman: ICRC refuses to disclose number of Ukrainian POWs it visited

by Toma Istomina June 22, 2023 8:19 PM 2 min read
Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights (Ombudsman) Dmytro Lubinets attends the international conference of human rights commissioners âThe Future of Human Rights in the 21st Centuryâ in Ankara, Turkiye on Jan. 12, 2023. (Muhammed Abdullah Kurtar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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Ukraine’s Ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets said that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) refused to disclose the number of Ukrainian prisoners of war in Russian captivity it visited.

Lubinets made the announcement on June 22, following his meeting with Jürg Eglin, the head of the delegation of the ICRC to Ukraine, and Wendy Julia Fleury, ICRC coordinator for multilateral and humanitarian affairs.

“The delegation said that this was confidential information,” Lubinets wrote. “I assume that this figure is 10 times less than the number of Russian prisoners visited on the territory of Ukraine.”

The ICRC representatives also said they could not do their job because Russia does not comply with the laws and customs of war.

Lubinets also asked the ICRC representatives whether Ukrainian prisoners of war were able to exchange letters with their relatives, just like Russian POWs are able to in Ukraine.

“The delegation did not give a response,” he said. “However, the delegation spoke about their new mechanism – recording messages from Ukrainian soldiers and their families on a tablet. They noted that they had allegedly already transmitted several hundred short messages this way. Unfortunately, we are unable to verify these words.”

Lubinets also raised the topic of the terrorist attack of the Russian military on a prisoner camp in occupied Olenivka, which killed dozens of Ukrainian soldiers. The ICRC stated that it had no new information on the matter.

The ICRC has been widely criticized by Ukrainian society for failing to fulfill its duties in wartime.

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