GENEVA (HPD) — The International Committee of the Red Cross has made at least five visits to Ukrainian prisoners of war since Russia invaded Ukraine, a Russian diplomat said Thursday. He added that “practical provisions” delayed a trip to a jail where dozens of prisoners died.
The Russian ambassador in Geneva, Gennady Gatilov, said it was unreasonable to think that the Red Cross could visit the 6,000 Ukrainian prisoners of war. Criticism has been heard of the ICRC that it has not done enough to try to gain access to Russian places of detention.
The Geneva-based humanitarian organization said on Sunday that its 11-person team is ready to visit prisoners of war in separatist-held areas in Donetsk, including in Olenivka prison.
Russian and Ukrainian authorities have accused each other of an attack on July 29 that destroyed a barracks in the separatists’ prison. At least 53 Ukrainian prisoners were killed and dozens were wounded, according to Russian and separatist authorities.
The international Red Cross would “verify hospitalization and treatment conditions, deliver essential supplies and ensure that prisoners can contact their families,” the organization said.
Gatilov hinted that security concerns were holding up a further visit to the Olenivka prison, controlled by the Moscow-backed Donetsk People’s Republic.
“The ICRC wants security for these visits,” he said. “Sometimes… it’s not easy to provide that security because the shelling continues, specifically the shelling in the Olenivka area.”