13:10 15 Aug 2022

Ukraine calls on Red Cross to intervene in russia's lynching POWs

Ukrainian service members whom russia captured from the Azovstal plant defended the country on legal grounds. Therefore, establishing the so-called "Mariupol cages" for lynching them is russia's war crime.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) should intervene in the situation, Mykhailo Podoliak, adviser to the Head of the President's Office, said on Twitter.

"All prisoners of war, and in particular the 'Azovstal' defenders are combatants who legally defended their country. Therefore, the 'Mariupol cages' [are] Russia's official war crime. Time for the ICRC and Peter Maurer [ICRC President, ed.] to remember about their purpose and think about their reputation," Podoliak noted.

On 6 August, it became known that the russian invaders planned to stage a lynching of Ukrainian defenders in the temporarily captured Mariupol and collect prison cells on the stage of the Mariupol Chamber Philharmonic.


During the evacuation of the Azov Regiment and another Ukrainian military from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, the UN and the Red Cross guaranteed the safety of the Ukrainian soldiers.

After russia purposely struck the POW prison and murdered at least 50 people in Olenivka on the occupied territory of the Donetsk region, where many Mariupol defenders had been detained, Ukraine's Armed Forces, Ministry of Defense, Security Service, and ombudsman demanded that the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross, which acted as guarantors of the life and health of Ukrainian soldiers, send their representatives to the camp.

On August 4, the International Committee of the Red Cross gave explanations stating that it did not guarantee the safety of the defenders of Azovstal, who russia captured.

"We did not guarantee the safety of prisoners of war once in enemy hands because it is not in our power to do so. We made this clear to the parties in advance. It is the obligation of parties to the conflict to ensure POWs are protected against acts of violence, intimidation, and public curiosity, as well as against the effects of hostilities. Only the parties to the conflict can definitively ensure the safety of PoW," the ICRC said in a statement.

The International Committee of the Red Cross stated that it does not have access to all prisoners of war, including the defenders of Azovstal.

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