All seriously wounded soldiers captured since the start of the war were unilaterally handed over to Russia, Ukraine said on Friday, according to state-run media.
Soldiers whose medical conditions allowed them to be transported were sent to Russia, state news agency Ukrinform said, citing a statement from the Coordination Headquarters for the Treatment of Prisoners of War.
Noting that the soldiers' transfer was carried out with the involvement of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), per the Geneva conventions, the report said: “In this case, this is not about the exchange of prisoners of war but repatriation: returning the severely wounded prisoners without any conditions, as stipulated by international humanitarian law.”
The agency claimed Russia “is still holding thousands of Ukrainian citizens hostage, including the seriously ill and wounded, civilians, children and women, the elderly, as well as those who were captured by Russia even before the start of the full-scale invasion.”
“According to international humanitarian law, all these categories of citizens must be returned to Ukraine via repatriation without any conditions,” it said.
The agency said “Russia not only continues to hold civilians and non-combatants hostage, but also refuses to allow representatives of the ICRC into their places of detention."
Ukraine called on the international community “to increase pressure on Russia to force it to comply with international humanitarian law and release all illegally detained Ukrainian citizens.