More than 1,500 civilians held in Russian captivity - Vereshchuk

More than 1,500 civilians held in Russian captivity - Vereshchuk

More than 1,500 Ukrainian civilians are being held captive in Russia and they are not prisoners of war and have to be released.

Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories Iryna Vereshchuk said this at a briefing at the Media Center Ukraine - Ukrinform.

"More than 1,500 civilians are being held in Russian prisons - they are in Rostov, Kursk, they are in jail, they are being held as prisoners of war, although they should not be prisoners of war... They should be released," Vereshchuk said.

She added that among the Ukrainian civilians in captivity there are volunteers, activists, journalists, priests, deputies of local councils, heads of local government agencies. According to her, 103 people were returned to government-controlled areas in March-May and the process continues. She also said that there are cases when people get out from captivity on their own or with the help of volunteers.

Vereshchuk said that the International Committee of the Red Cross had earlier asked Russia to provide a list of Ukrainian civilians held captive by Russia and that the list had also been provided to Ukraine. According to her, Russia has included only 120 people in this list and there are no women among them, but this is not true. She also stressed that it is now necessary to work for Russia to recognize other civilians whom it captured and hand over them to the Ukrainian side.

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