Ukraine publishes list of captured soldiers whom Russia refused to return home
Throughout the entire period of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Russia has been removing some of its captured military from exchange lists and refusing to return home
The project I Want to Live published a 200 names list of such prisoners of war on its telegram channel.
The project emphasized that by refusing to exchange prisoners of war, the Russian side is actually violating the basic and fundamental document governing the functioning of its armed forces, i.e. the army charter. They recalled that paragraph 23 of the Statute of the Internal Service of the Russian Armed Forces states: "Commanders (chiefs) are obliged to take measures to release these servicemen in accordance with the norms of international humanitarian law."
According to the project, Ukraine has repeatedly declared its readiness to return Russian prisoners of war home: it has called for an "all-for-all" exchange, offered to repatriate seriously wounded prisoners of war and return captured parents with many children, but Russia has ignored all these initiatives. "Ukraine is once again taking an unprecedented step and is now ready to regularly publish lists of Russian servicemen whom Russia has cynically excluded from exchange lists and refused to return throughout the entire period of its full-scale invasion of Ukraine and aggressive war. These are real people with wives, children and mothers waiting for them at home. They could have returned home last year, or literally in the shortest possible time, and celebrated the New Year with their families. However, this requires only one thing - the consent of the Russian side to the exchange," added the organization.
As a result, the project's telegram channel published for the first time a list of 200 Russian prisoners of war whom Russia refused to return to their homeland.
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For reference. I Want to Live (officially known as the Unified Center for Receiving Appeals of Russian Military Personnel for Surrender is a Ukraine-based project of Ukraine's Defence Intelligence. It is designed to help Russian servicemen who do not want to participate in the war to safely surrender to the Ukrainian Armed Forces. The project guarantees that the surrendered servicemen will be held in accordance with the Geneva Conventions. In addition, servicemen are also guaranteed that after voluntary surrender, they will not be exchanged or returned to the Russian Federation if they do not wish to do so.
A Russian serviceman can file an appeal and surrender by calling special phones of the round-the-clock hotline. Or they can follow the instructions via the Telegram bot of the channel with the same name as the project. The Russian military can learn about the terms of surrender through other social networks, as after the project was launched, Russian government agencies blocked access to it from the territories controlled by the Russian Federation.
In September, the Verkhovna Rada Commissioner for Human Rights, Dmytro Lubinets, said that Ukraine had problems with the exchange fund and that Russia did not want to take its prisoners of war.
In October, Vitaliy Matvienko, a spokesperson for the Unified Center for Receiving Appeals from Russian Military on Surrender, said that the hotline I Want to Live is more often called by Russian soldiers themselves than by their relatives.