Russia-Ukraine war: Red Cross registers hundreds of Ukrainian POWs from Mariupol

KIEV, Ukraine – The Russian military said on Thursday that more Ukrainian fighters who had made a final stop in Mariupol had surrendered, bringing the total to 1,730 who had left their stronghold, while the Red Cross said it had taken hundreds of them hostage.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) says registrations of Ukrainian prisoners of war, including wounded fighters, began on Tuesday under an agreement between Russia and Ukraine.

The Geneva-based humanitarian service, which has experience in dealing with prisoners of war and prisoner exchanges, said, however, that its team did not transport the fighters to “places of detention” – something that was not immediately clear.

The Ukrainian fighters who came out of the ruined Azovstal steel plant after receiving orders from their army to leave the last resistance fortress in the most level port city are facing an uncertain fate. Some were transferred by the Russians to a former criminal colony on territory controlled by Moscow-backed separatists.

While Ukraine has said it hopes to bring the troops back to an exchange of prisoners, Russia has threatened to prosecute some of them for war crimes.

The Red Cross cited rules under the Geneva Conventions that should allow the organization to interview prisoners of war “without witnesses” and that visits with them should not be “unjustifiably restricted”.

The group did not say how many prisoners of war were involved.

It is also unclear how many fighters are left in the factory. Russia had previously estimated that about 2,000 soldiers were fighting in the factory by the water.

Dennis Pushilin, a senior Russian-backed separatist official in an area including Mariupol, said Ukrainian soldiers in need of medical treatment had been treated while others had been detained. He also claimed that Red Cross representatives were allowed to inspect the detention center, but this could not be verified immediately.

Amnesty International said earlier that the Red Cross should be given immediate access to the surrendered Mariupol fighters. Denis Krivosheev, Amnesty International’s deputy director for the region, cited alleged executions by Russian forces in Ukraine and said Azovstal’s defenders “should not suffer the same fate”.

Despite retreating to Mariupol, Ukraine’s confidence has grown since fighting the Russian offensive in an effective impasse and forcing Moscow to withdraw from Kyiv and limit its military targets.

Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who has been in several rounds of talks with Russia, said in a tweet on Thursday that “at this stage do not offer us a ceasefire – this is impossible without the complete withdrawal of Russian troops.” “.

“Until Russia is ready to fully liberate the occupied territories, our negotiating team is weapons, sanctions and money,” he wrote on Twitter.

The Ukrainian military said in a statement on Thursday morning that Russian forces were still pushing for an attack on various parts of the eastern front, but were repulsed.

The Ukrainian army made no mention of Mariupol in its morning briefing on Thursday, saying only that Russian forces were still attacking various parts of the front in the east, but were repulsed.

In the eastern part of Donbass, which has been the focus of recent fighting as Russian forces in the offensive clashed with strong Ukrainian resistance, four civilians were killed in a Russian bombing raid on the city of Sivierodonetsk, Luhansk Governor Serh said. Three other civilians were injured in the attack on Wednesday and the bombing continued until dawn on Thursday, Haidai said.

On the Russian side of the border, the governor of Kursk province said a truck driver was killed and several other civilians were injured in bombings by Ukraine. Authorities in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine say two civilians have been killed and five others injured in Ukrainian bombings in the past 24 hours.

Meanwhile, in the first war crimes trial in Ukraine, a captured Russian soldier pleaded guilty Wednesday to killing a civilian and faces up to life in prison.

The factory was the only thing that prevented Russia from declaring complete occupation of Mariupol. Its fall would make Mariupol the largest Ukrainian city to be occupied by Moscow forces, giving Putin the impetus for a war in which many of his plans have been turned.

Military analysts, however, said the capture of the city at this point would be more symbolic than anything else, as Mariupol is now effectively under Moscow control and most of the Russian forces captured by the tired fighting have already gone.

The video showed Ukrainian fighters transporting their wounded on stretchers and undergoing searches before being transported to buses accompanied by military vehicles bearing the “Z” symbol in favor of the Kremlin.

The United States has gathered information showing that some Russian officials are concerned that Kremlin forces in Mariupol are committing abuses, including beatings of city officials, electric shocks and house robberies, according to a U.S. official familiar with the findings.

Russian officials worry that the abuses will further inspire residents to resist the occupation and that the treatment runs counter to Russia’s claims that its military has released Russian-speaking people, according to the official, who was not authorized to comment.

In the case of war crimes in Kyiv, the Russian captain. Vadim Shishimarin, a 21-year-old member of a tank unit, pleaded guilty to shooting a 62-year-old unarmed Ukrainian man in the head through a car window in the early days of the war. Ukraine’s top prosecutor has said that about 40 more war crimes cases are being prepared.

On the diplomatic front, Finland and Sweden could join NATO within a few months, although objections from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threaten to upset things. Turkey accuses the two countries of hosting Kurdish fighters and others it sees as threats to its security.

Ibrahim Kalin, a foreign policy adviser and spokesman for Erdogan, said there would be “no progress” on membership applications if Turkey’s concerns were not met. Each of the 30 NATO countries has an effective veto against the new members.

The defenders of Mariupol clung gloomily to the steelworks for months and against the odds, preventing Russia from completing its occupation of the city and its port.

Mariupol has been a target of the Russians since the beginning, as Moscow tried to open a land corridor from its territory to the Crimean peninsula, which it occupied from Ukraine in 2014.

The city – its pre-war population of about 430,000 has now shrunk by about three-quarters – has been largely devastated by relentless bombing, and Ukraine says more than 20,000 civilians have been killed there.

For Ukraine, ordering the fighters to surrender could leave President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s government open to allegations that it has abandoned the troops it described as heroes.

“Zelensky may face unpleasant questions,” said Volodymyr Fesenko, who heads the independent Penta think tank in Kyiv. “There have been voices of resentment and accusations of betrayal of Ukrainian soldiers.”

A desired exchange of detainees could also fail, he warned.

Russia’s main federal investigative body has said it intends to interrogate troops surrendered to “identify nationalists” and determine whether they were involved in crimes against civilians.

Russia’s chief prosecutor has also asked the country’s Supreme Court to classify Ukraine’s Azov constitution – among the troops that made up the Azovstal guard – as a terrorist organization. The constitution has roots on the far right.

The Russian parliament was due to consider a resolution banning the exchange of any Azov Constitution fighters, but did not address the issue on Wednesday.

Copyright © 2022 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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Russia-Ukraine war: Red Cross registers hundreds of Ukrainian POWs from Mariupol Source link Russia-Ukraine war: Red Cross registers hundreds of Ukrainian POWs from Mariupol

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