126 Ukrainian women are in Russian captivity, most of them civilians

Дата: 04 July 2023
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As of the end of June 2023, 126 women are still in Russian captivity.

This news was reported by the Ministry of Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories and the National Information Bureau.

A meeting of women released from Russian captivity. Photo: Andriy Yermak

“According to the National Information Bureau, as of the end of June 2023, 126 women are in Russian captivity. Of these, 46 are military, and 80 are civilians,” the statement said. 

Twenty-three women in captivity have children: 14 military women have 23 children, and nine civilians have 15.

In early May of this year, representatives of the Coordination Headquarters for the Treatment of Prisoners of War, Bohdan Okhrimenko and Victoria Tsymbalyuk, said that the Russian Federation held at least several hundred women soldiers captive. At the same time, the authorities are working to find out and bring them home.

The Ukrainian side is demanding the return of the servicewomen without any exchanges, as provided by the Geneva Convention.

On October 17, an extensive exchange of prisoners between Ukraine and Russia occurred. Then, 108 Ukrainian military and civilian women returned home.

In Russian captivity, Ukrainian servicewomen were beaten, threatened with execution and amputation, and some were forced to obtain Russian citizenship. According to a person released, women were abused the most in captivity: “Women were beaten, and women beat us the most – their wives beat us. They took us out of the cell every morning and evening to count and beat us.”

According to international humanitarian law, prisoners of war must always be humanely treated. As granted by the Third Geneva Convention, the ICRC has the right to visit and interview POWs. The Committee also collects information about POWs to share with family members and relatives. The Fourth Geneva Convention, which addresses the responsibilities of the occupying power, such as Russia in Ukraine’s regions, prohibits the inhumane treatment of civilians and all acts of violence. 

According to human rights defenders, at least 948 civilian hostages are being held in the Russian Federation, Belarus, and occupied territories of Ukraine. 

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