Espreso. Global

Ukraine opens international platform for release of civilians illegally detained by Russia

26 February, 2024 Monday
20:05

On February 26, as part of the implementation of the fourth point of the Peace Formula of Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Ukraine launched an international platform for the release of civilians illegally detained by Russia

This was announced by the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights Dmytro Lubinets.

According to him, this platform is the first step towards uniting efforts to release civilians illegally detained by the Russian Federation. 

Lubinets stressed that it all started in Crimea in 2014

"It's been 10 years since Russian troops invaded the territory of an independent state. Even then, there were the first detentions. A total of 208 prisoners in Crimea, we know about them by name. At that time, the world expressed deep concern about the occupation of Crimea, and later - parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. That is why the terrorist country went further," the ombudsman said, adding that Russia not only occupies the territories of Ukraine, but also illegally detains, falsely accuses of crimes and imprisons Ukrainian civilians in the temporarily occupied territories, including in Crimea. 

Lubinets noted that the Russian army detains civilians because of their ethnicity, religion, beliefs and opinions.

"Prisoners are subjected to physical, sexual and psychological violence. Ukrainian citizens are convicted on fabricated charges of extremism and terrorism. We also record cases of Ukrainian citizens being held in prisons without official charges," he said.

According to him, since 2022 alone, about 28,000 people have been reported missing under special circumstances and illegally deprived of their personal liberty as a result of Russia's armed aggression against Ukraine. We managed to release 147 citizens who had been illegally detained.

The Parliamentary Ombudsman proposed steps to release civilians who are victims of unlawful detention:

  • Introducing a package of international sanctions and criminal prosecution based on the principle of universal jurisdiction against Russian officials responsible for the unlawful deprivation of liberty of civilians;
  • Implementation of diplomatic measures aimed at creating a stop effect for the Russian Federation;
  • The International Criminal Court issuing an arrest warrant for Russian officials responsible for enforced disappearances of Ukrainian civilians;
  • The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) gaining full access to prisoners of war and victims of arbitrary detention in the Russian Federation and the temporarily occupied territories.

"Russia must be held accountable for its crimes! After all, some crimes pave the way for others, and impunity gives rise to even greater appetites of the aggressor! Ukraine's goal is to return everyone to their homeland, and the entire civilized world is with us," Lubinets concluded.

Addressing the participants of the international platform, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that the longer Ukrainians stay in Russian captivity, the more difficult it will be for them to return to normal life.

"We must do everything possible and impossible to ensure that this point of our Peace Formula, namely the return of all prisoners and deportees, is implemented,"  President stressed.

He noted that "it is very important not to forget about anyone and to find and return everyone: military and civilians, deported children, Crimean political prisoners, and deported families."

He also said that it is imperative to bring Russia, every war criminal, and everyone involved in the deportation of Ukrainians and the abuse of prisoners to justice.

  • Ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets said that if Ukraine were to return one child every day, it would take 55 years, but there is not that much time. 
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