A total of 295 people, including 30 women, are being held hostage in the territory of the temporarily occupied Donetsk and Luhansk regions. The Ukrainian side tries to exchange them in “all for all” format, the Media Initiative for Human Rights representatives informed with reference to the data of the Security Service of Ukraine.
According to the human rights organisation coordinator Tetiana Katrychenko, those people are detained not only for political reasons (for example, accused of espionage, treason or sabotage) or because of their pro-Ukrainian stance.
Katrychenko noted that special attention should be paid to women held hostage in pre-trial centres, as well as in penal colonies in Snizhne (Donetsk region) and Seleznivka (Luhansk region).
“Women, who are fighting for the freedom of their relatives, fall under pressure exerted by members of illegal armed formations. They are threatened with detention, they are forced to flee the occupied territories and are actually held hostage to this situation,” the human rights activist said.
According to the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights Liudmyla Denisova, 405 citizens of Ukraine, including 44 service members, were illegally detained in all territories temporarily occupied by Russia as of late June.
At the same time, relatives of those illegally detained by the militants consider that the actual number of hostages is higher.
The last exchange took place in April 2020. Then, the Ukrainian authorities managed to release 19 Ukrainian citizens from captivity in the temporarily occupied territories.