That’s according to a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Ukrinform reports.
MFA Ukraine stressed that Ukraine is a responsible actor in the international community, faithfully fulfilling all its international legal obligations, including in terms of international humanitarian law.
"In the context of full-scale Russian aggression, the Ukrainian state, as a party to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and its Protocols, has strictly adhered to the principles of hostilities, including international humanitarian law, which includes appropriate rules for the treatment of prisoners of war," the statement said.
The Ministry noted that Ukraine treats POWs humanely and provides everything guaranteed to them by international law in full; under martial law, the state adopted a number of regulations governing the treatment and holding of POWs.
It is noted that Ukraine carefully adheres to the provisions of Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions for the Protection of Victims of International Military Conflicts and fully ensures proper treatment of captured Russian servicemen. In this context, the Foreign Ministry noted that the Russian side denounced this important international legal instrument in October 2019.
"It is now clear that this was one of Russia's preparatory steps for a full-scale aggression against Ukraine," the diplomats said.
Our state assumes that prisoners of war cannot be held accountable for their direct participation in hostilities if they have not committed military and other crimes as defined by international law. The Ministry stressed that their temporary holding in specially prepared locations is intended only to prevent their further participation in hostilities and is not a form of punishment.
In addition, the statement emphasizes that the Ukrainian side is ready, as required by international treaties, to release and repatriate Russian prisoners of war if they wish, after hostilities are ceased.
"At the same time, Ukraine reserves the right to detain and prosecute servicemen of the Russian armed forces and other military formations operating in our territory for their war crimes and crimes against humanity," the Foreign Ministry said.
Russian soldiers were and remain aggressors, invaders and occupiers on Ukrainian soil, and the Russian army as a whole is a systemic violator of the laws and customs of war.
Ukraine continues to faithfully guarantee the minimum required conditions of detention set out in international humanitarian law, the statement said, including accommodation, food, clothing, sanitation and health care, and respect for POW dignity.
The Foreign Ministry also stressed that the Ukrainian side provides access to Russian prisoners of war on a regular basis to representatives of international specialized organizations and institutions, including the International Committee of the Red Cross. In Ukraine, the National Information Bureau has been established, which deals with the issues of POWs, including their exchange.
"Ukraine demands a mirror-humane treatment of Ukrainian prisoners of war by the Russian side, including the involvement of specialized international institutions to monitor the conditions of their holding in Russian-controlled territories," the Foreign Ministry said.
As reported, the Verkhovna Rada Commissioner for Human Rights said on April 24 that Russia was holding captive Ukrainian servicemen in regular penal colonies without converting prisons to POW camps.
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