KYIV, March 24 (AP) — United Nations human rights monitors have documented dozens of summary executions of Ukrainian and Russian prisoners of war, as well as the use of torture, human shields and other ill-treatment of prisoners of war since Russia invaded its neighbors in what could amount to war conduct crimes, according to a report released Friday.
The first comprehensive inquiry into the treatment of prisoners of war by the U.N. human rights office mission in Ukraine was released alongside an update on overall human rights violations in the six-month period to January.
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The report is based on interviews with about 400 prisoners of war, half of whom were freed Ukrainians and the other half were Russians held in Ukraine.
The team said it had no access to prisoners of war being held in Russia or parts of Russian-occupied Ukraine, where they identified 48 places of detention.
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The delegation stated that during the 13 months of war it had still recorded some 40 summary executions.
The UN human rights office, which has a monitoring team in Ukraine since fighting broke out in eastern Ukraine claimed by Russian-backed separatists in 2014, says its findings are based on confirmed cases and often underestimate the actual death toll.
Matilda Bogner, head of the UN monitoring mission, told a news conference in Kiev: “We are deeply concerned by the summary execution of up to 25 Russian prisoners of war and persons ordered to fight by the Ukrainian Armed Forces, which we have documented. at this point.” .
Bogner listed the alleged abuses committed by both sides, but pointed to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a source of violence against civilians and prisoners of war.
Ukrainian prosecutors are investigating some cases, but no one has yet been brought to court, she said.
“Regarding the treatment of Ukrainian prisoners of war, we also express our deep concern at the summary execution of 15 Ukrainian prisoners of war shortly after being captured by Russian armed forces,” Bogner said.
“The Wagner Group — the military and security contractor — carried out 11 of these executions.”
It also documented five cases of deaths of Ukrainian prisoners of war after being subjected to torture or other ill-treatment, and four cases of deaths from lack of medical attention in custody.
The report found that while prisoner-of-war abuse occurred on both sides, abuse was more common among Ukrainians — reported by more than nine in 10 respondents — than against Russians, about half of whom testified.
In an update on rights violations affecting other groups, the human rights office said children from the city of Kharkiv in northeastern Ukraine were sent to Russian “summer camps” with their parents’ consent but did not return home as expected after the holidays.
Parts of Kharkiv province fell to Russia last year before the Ukrainian military took it back in a late-summer counteroffensive.
According to the second report, about 200 children spent the summer in a camp in the Russian city of Krasnodarsky Krai and attended a local school.
In the latest news, Russian authorities said in October that as many as 2,500 children from Ukraine were living in transit centers in Russia, where some have remained.
But right-wing offices have warned that it is unclear how many unaccompanied children are being placed in camps, makeshift homes or institutional care in Russia, and how many have been transferred there with their parents.
The United Nations reported earlier this week that since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, 8,317 civilians have been killed and another 13,809 injured in the conflict.
It cautioned that the figures underestimated the actual number of casualties. (Associated Press)
(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a Syndicated News feed, the body of content may not have been modified or edited by LatestLY staff)