Russia-Ukraine international armed conflict: New visits to prisoners of war bring much-awaited news to families

Geneva (ICRC) — More prisoners of war held by Russia and Ukraine have been visited by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in recent weeks, allowing delegates to check on their condition and treatment and share much-awaited news with their families. Our teams were also able to provide items such as books, personal hygiene items, blankets, and warm clothes.

“These visits are an important step forward in preserving humanity amidst the brutality of the international armed conflict,” said ICRC President Mirjana Spoljaric. “We are able to check how prisoners of war are being treated and to make sure families receive updates. My expectation is that these visits lead to more regular access to all prisoners of war.”

The ICRC last week carried out one two-day visit to Ukrainian prisoners of war, with another happening this week. During the same period, visits were also carried out to Russian prisoners of war, with more visits planned by the end of the month.
ICRC teams are reaching out to families of prisoners of war to share updates from their loved ones. Most updates are short notes of love and personal news. Some ask family members not to worry. Others ask them for cigarettes, socks, and sweets. All these messages are a lifeline for anguished relatives.

“To the families: I want you to know that your loved ones are our top priority, and we will not rest until we see all prisoners of war,” President Spoljaric said.

 
All prisoners of war are entitled to receive regular visits from delegates of the ICRC under the Third Geneva Convention. While the recent visits are important progress, the ICRC must be granted unimpeded access to see all prisoners of war repeatedly and in private, wherever they are held.

For more information please contact:

Oleksandr Vlasenko (English, Ukrainian), (+380) 95 262 80 23, ovlasenko@icrc.org
Achille Després, ICRC Kyiv (English, French, Italian) +380 50 324 31 80, adespres@icrc.org
Galina Balzamova, ICRC Moscow (English, Russian) +7 903 545 35 34, gbalzamova@icrc.org
Jennifer Sparks (English), ICRC Geneva, +41 79 217 32 00, jsparks@icrc.org
Crystal Wells (English), ICRC Geneva, +41 79 642 80 56, cwells@icrc.org
Jason Straziuso (English, French), ICRC Geneva, +41 79 949 35 12, jstraziuso@icrc.org

Source : Icrc