The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine states that our country is a responsible subject of the international community and diligently fulfils all its international legal obligations, including under international humanitarian law.

“In the context of full-scale Russian aggression, the Ukrainian state, as a party to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols, strictly adheres to the principles of military operations under international humanitarian law, which includes appropriate rules for the treatment of prisoners of war,” the diplomats noted.

Ukraine adheres to the humane treatment of prisoners of war and provides everything guaranteed to them by international law in full.

Under martial law, our state has adopted a number of regulations on the treatment and detention of prisoners of war.

Ukraine closely adheres to the provisions of Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions relating to the protection of victims of international conflicts and fully ensures the proper treatment of captured Russian service members.

“In this context, we note that the Russian side denounced this important international legal instrument in October 2019. It is now obvious that this was one of Russia’s preparatory steps for full-scale aggression against Ukraine,” the MFA stressed.

The Ministry also underscores that our state assumes that prisoners of war cannot be prosecuted for direct participation in hostilities if they did not commit war and other crimes under international law. Their temporary detention in specially prepared places is intended only to prevent their further participation in hostilities and is not a form of punishment.

The Ukrainian side is ready, as required by international treaties, to release and repatriate Russian prisoners of war after the end of hostilities if they wish so.

At the same time, Ukraine reserves the right to detain and prosecute service members of the Russian armed forces and other military formations operating in our territory for their war crimes and crimes against humanity.

“At the same time, we emphasise that Russian soldiers have been and remain to be aggressors, invaders, and occupiers on Ukrainian soil, and the Russian army as a whole is a systemic violator of the laws and customs of war,” the Foreign Ministry said.

Ukraine continues to faithfully guarantee the basic conditions of detention established by international humanitarian law, including accommodation, food, clothing, sanitation, and health care, and to ensure respect for the dignity of prisoners of war.

The Ukrainian side provides regular access to Russian prisoners of war for representatives of international specialised organisations and institutions, in particular the International Committee of the Red Cross. In addition, our country has the National Information Bureau which deals with POWs, including their exchange.

Ukraine demands a mirror and humane treatment of Ukrainian prisoners of war by the Russian side, including the involvement of specialised international institutions to monitor the conditions of their detention in Russian-controlled territories.

Natalia Tolub

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