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Russia holds over 14,000 Ukrainians captive – Lubinets

30 June, 2024 Sunday
16:25

Ukraine's Human Rights Commissioner Dmytro Lubinets has stated that Russia is unlawfully detaining more than 14,000 Ukrainian citizens. He emphasized that the process of bringing civilians home is particularly challenging

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He made these remarks in a comment to Interfax-Ukraine.

"Returning three categories of Ukrainian citizens - children, prisoners of war, civilians - is the most difficult task," Lubinets said.

The commissioner explained that unlike prisoners of war, civilian returns do not involve exchanges but rather straightforward repatriation.

"We cannot negotiate with them nor exert additional influence on Russia directly. We lack a legal framework to facilitate this process," the ombudsman emphasized.

Lubinets also highlighted Ukraine's efforts to repatriate nearly 20,000 children and tens of thousands of missing individuals.

He noted that the return of 10 Ukrainian citizens from Russian captivity, including Deputy Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People Nariman Dzhelal, and Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church priests Bohdan Heleta and Ivan Levytskyi, marked the Vatican's first involvement in returning adults, having previously assisted only with child returns.

"Previously, they (the Vatican) assisted in returning Ukrainian children. We maintain direct communication with them. I hope this return will establish a new precedent... potentially opening a new channel for communication and repatriation of Ukrainian civilians," the human rights commissioner said.

  • Andriy Yusov, a spokesperson for the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, condemned the captivity of thousands of Ukrainian civilians in Russia as a flagrant, large-scale war crime by Putin's Russia.
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