The Ukrainian First of December initiative group made up of leading Ukrainian intellectual and spiritual figures issued an open appeal to the world’s political and public figures calling to prevent Russia’s illegal trial of Ukrainian prisoners of war in Russian-occupied Mariupol and to stop the Kremlin’s violations of international law.
The appeal signed by the Group’s members Olia Hnatiuk, Volodymyr Yermolenko, Yevhen Zakharov, Yosyf Zisels, Ihor Kozlovskyi, Myroslav Marynovych, Ihor Yukhnovskyi, Yaroslav Yatskiv addresses “anyone who is trying to save the remnants of Russia’s shattered international security system.”
“… In occupied Mariupol, the Russian administration prepares cages and other “judicial” scenery to hold a show trial of Mariupol’s defenders, and in particular those of the Azovstal [plant]. Russia is once again violating its agreements, this time those with the International Committee of the Red Cross and the UN, which promised to carry out the further exchange of prisoners of war, something that the defenders themselves and all Ukrainian society perceived as guarantees. Russia also violates the 1949 Geneva Conventions, which guarantee the rights of prisoners of war. The legal insignificance of the planned kangaroo court is obvious.
“Yes, we urge you to raise a wave of protests around the world and prevent such a “tribunal” that is completely contrary to generally accepted international law on the treatment of prisoners of war. We ask you to protect these specific people who have exhibited miracles of heroism and endurance, and to prevent their mental and physical destruction,” the appeal reads.
The signatories remind that Russia has already killed more than fifty Ukrainian prisoners of war from Mariupol and the Azovstal, who died in an explosion on July 28 in a prison set up in the Olenivka [penal] colony, “and this crime added up to all previous ones which went unpunished.”
The authors of the appeal believe that if international institutions enter into any agreement with Russia “they must be aware that they are co-responsible for complying with these agreements.”
Russian propaganda managed to “attach a deterrent label of ‘neo-Nazis’ to the Azov fighters,” but for Ukrainians, these are “patriots who, at the highest level of sacrifice, performed their military duties and laid down their arms only after the international community guaranteed their lives.”
“Equating their self-sacrifice with ‘Nazism’ is a pathetic attempt by Kremlin propagandists to invent a ‘veracious’ reason for waging war against Ukraine, which, in turn, is criminal,” according to the appeal.