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Russia holds over 20,000 civilians hostage, number to increase after liberation

Thursday, 4 May 2023, 18:07

Dmytro Lubinets, Ukraine’s Human Rights Commissioner, has suggested that after the liberation of the occupied territories, it will turn out that Russia is holding significantly more than 20,000 Ukrainian civilians hostage.

Source: Lubinets at a press conference in Kyiv, quoted by Ukrinform

Quote: "According to our approximate estimates, the Russian Federation is holding more than 20,000 civilian hostages. I am giving these figures on the basis of personal appeals to me from relatives whose family members and friends have been detained by the Russian military.


Why I am saying that this is approximately and that this figure is much higher is because I am fully aware that those who are currently in the temporarily occupied territories do not contact me or do so in small numbers because even contacting the Ukrainian Ombudsman is considered espionage by the Russian Federation. After we liberate all Ukrainian territories, the number will be much higher."

Details: The ombudsman has noted that a separate working group has been set up in the Coordination Headquarters for the Treatment of Prisoners of War to deal with civilian hostages.

It is headed by Oleksandr Kononenko, who is a representative of the Ukrainian Ombudsman in the security and defence sector. In total, the headquarters has managed to bring back 2,279 citizens to their homeland, including 142 civilians.

He has recalled that this week the Unified Register of Missing Persons was launched in Ukraine. It will take some time to fill this register. Information will be gradually transferred from the National Information Bureau and various bodies, including intelligence agencies. It will all be recorded in this register.

Lubinets has also pointed out that he personally handed over the first list of civilian hostages to Russian Ombudsman Tatyana Moskalkova in Ankara on 13 January 2023. It contained the names of 2,000 people.

"The list was compiled according to the age criteria of 65+. And people who have significant illnesses. After that, we received assurances from the Russian Federation that they were working on the list. And that's all," he said.

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