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16 June 2022, 14:51

DPR ombudsman comments on treatment of POWs by Ukraine

DONETSK, 16 June (BelTA) – We needed to bring several ambulances for every exchange of POWs with the Armed Forces of Ukraine, DPR ombudsman for human rights Daria Morozova told the media in Donetsk, BelTA has learned.

“Over the course of seven years we exchanged about 1,300 people. I don't remember a single person, who came back without abrasions, bruises, broken ribs, or other injuries. You can learn about torture of our POWs from official UN reports on human rights. They issued them every 3 months. We forced them to record it in the end. We worked with the International Committee of the Red Cross. We made use of the Minsk venue to demonstrate these atrocities. If you look at footage of POW exchanges from 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, you can see the state of POWs that were returned to us. I would bring several ambulances to every exchange,” Daria Morozova noted.

She added that the DPR provided medical aid to all Ukrainian POWs. They could contact their relatives. “But regretfully our POWs in Ukraine's territory didn't have the same right. We kept the POWs separately from ordinary prisoners. Regretfully, Ukraine didn't do that. Our POWs in Ukraine shared cells [with common criminals]. That was the most terrible and the worst thing. It had an effect on minds of the people, who stayed there for half a year and more. And respectively there was this kind of bullying, scaring of our guys and women, who unfortunately went through that,” the DPR ombudsman said.

Over the eight years of conflict, the DPR spotted several secret prisons on the Ukrainian territory. “People were tortured and killed there. Those include the notorious library in Mariupol, the airport in Mariupol where we are about to start excavating a burial site. They were kept in refrigerators, tortured, beaten and raped. These secret prisons are documented in international reports. Over the course of seven years we worked hard to prepare a reinforced concrete foundation for a future tribunal on Ukrainian crimes. We tried to get every agency we could contact to document it. At the moment we have a excellent body of evidence with regard to the military crimes still being committed in Donbass. There were such prisons in Berdyansk and Kharkov. DPR and LPR supporters were secretly kept almost in all SBU buildings in Ukraine,” Daria Morozova said.

All kinds of prisoners of war were kept in the DPR territory. According to Daria Morozova, they were servicemen of the regular army of Ukraine and participants of battalions such as Azov, Aidar, Donbass, Mirotvorets. The ombudsman noted that their views varied greatly, but none of them confessed to killing people.

“They were largely tank mechanics, cooks, and people with other specializations but nobody shot. It is unclear why all of it is happening in Donetsk. By the way, now the situation is absolutely the same. Some repented and some said that they would come back to keep killing Russian-speaking population of Ukraine. They felt this lawlessness in 2014 when an armed coup happened, which contradicted both international law and Ukraine's own constitution. It contravened both international law and the Ukrainian constitution. All the Western partners chose to overlook it. After that all the Ukrainian politicians felt this impunity. The cruelest tortures, abuses, and murders happened in 2014-2015,” Daria Morozova said.

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