ICRC Says Received Russia's Request Regarding Prisoners of War, Will Answer Soon
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has received a letter of Russia's Commissioner for Human Rights Tatiana Moskalkova calling for a meeting with Russian prisoners of war in Ukraine and will provide an answer to the request as soon as possible, the ICRC delegation in Moscow told Sputnik.
On Monday, Moskalkova said that she had asked ICRC President Peter Maurer to provide information regarding Russian military captured in Ukraine and help her or her representatives visit them.
"We confirm that we have received the letter from Ms. Moskalkova," the delegation said, adding that despite a delay in submitting official feedback, the organization is "working to provide the answer in the shortest possible time."
ICRC also confirmed its engagement in "an open and constructive dialogue" with the Russian commissioner for human rights and her team.
When asked to name the number of Russian prisoners mentioned in Moskalkova's address, the delegation refused to do so, citing the confidentiality of such information.
"This information is discussed in a confidential manner with the concerned authorities and not with the media. The inquiry raised by Russian authorities on missing Russian citizens allegedly in the hands of Ukraine represents a valuable source of information that complements other sources, including from families," the delegation said.
At the same time, the organization confirmed its plans to visit Russian prisoners of war in Ukraine in accordance with its international commitments. The ICRC stressed the need to be fully aware of prisoners of war and civilian internees, wherever they are held, to inform hundreds of families about their relatives.
"These visits help ensure respect for their life and dignity by reminding the detaining authorities that the captives' treatment and their conditions of internment or detention must correspond to standards laid down by IHL [international human law]. This includes access to medical care, food, and water. They also cannot be tortured, intimidated or exposed to violence. In addition, they must be shielded from public curiosity," the ICRC delegation added.
The organization said it knew nothing about the next exchange of prisoners between Moscow and Kiev, but expressed its readiness to play the role of a neutral intermediary in such operations.
Earlier in May, the head of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, Matilda Bogner, said that the organization had credible information about Ukrainian troops torturing Russian prisoners.
According to Bogner, captured Russian soldiers are experiencing ill-treatment and incommunicado detention by the Ukrainian armed forces. The UN representative added that this torture violates fundamental rules of international humanitarian law.
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