Ukraine demands that Russia treat captured fighters humanely, including foreigners

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KYIV, July 18 (Reuters) – Ukraine’s foreign ministry on Monday accused Russia of illegally processing Ukrainian prisoners of war and using them for political purposes, and demanded humane treatment of captured foreigners fighting for Ukraine .

He urged Russia to strictly adhere to the provisions of international humanitarian law, including the 1949 Geneva Conventions which set international legal standards for humanitarian treatment.

“Ukraine condemns the illegal treatment of Ukrainian prisoners of war by the Russian Federation, especially their use for its own political purposes,” the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said.

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“We demand that the Russian side strictly observe the provisions of international humanitarian law, in particular the Geneva Convention relative to the treatment of prisoners of war, with regard to servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine who are prisoners of war.”

He said that “all foreign citizens and stateless persons” fighting on Ukrainian territory for the Ukrainian Armed Forces were voluntarily accepted for military service under Ukrainian law.

“The persons concerned are servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, to whom, in accordance with the provisions of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 on the protection of victims of war and Additional Protocol I of 1977, the legal status of combatants applies”, a he declared.

“This status, among other things, allows these people to be treated as prisoners of war if captured by enemy power.”

In June, a Moroccan and two Britons were sentenced to death by a Russian-backed separatist court in eastern Ukraine for fighting for Ukraine. They appealed the convictions.

Britain last week expressed “deep concern” at reports of a British aid worker’s death while being held by “a Russian proxy in Ukraine”. Read more

Russia did not immediately respond to the Foreign Ministry statement. Russia has previously said it is looking into allegations of mistreatment of Russia by Russian soldiers while detained in Ukraine. Ukraine said it was verifying all information regarding the treatment of prisoners of war and would investigate any violations and take appropriate legal action.

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Reportign by Natalia Zinets, edited by Timothy Heritage

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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