Andriy Yermak, the head of the President’s Office of Ukraine, reprimanded the International Committee of the Red Cross for ignoring Ukraine’s request to visit prisoners of war in Olenivka.
“War is a test both for people and for international organizations. Unfortunately, the Red Cross does not just tolerate Russian violations of all norms of international law, but also does it silently,” Yermak wrote.
On October 17, representatives of the ICRC did not arrive at the border with the temporarily occupied territory in the Zaporizhzhia Oblast, where the Ukrainian delegation was waiting for them. There, the Red Cross was supposed to obtain from Russia access to Olenivka and visit Ukrainian prisoners of war.
According to Yermak, the Verkhovna Rada’s human rights commissioner Dmytro Lubinets, adviser to the head of the President’s Office Dariya Zarivna, and people’s deputies Maria Mezentseva, Yehor Chernev, Denys Maslov, and Olena Khomenko arrived at the contact line on Monday. However, Yermak regrets that ICRC representatives did not join the Ukrainian delegation on this trip.
“Unfortunately, we do not see that the ICRC is working to protect our prisoners. The Ukrainian side has every reason to expect decisive proactive actions by the ICRC to implement its humanitarian mandate, as well as a clear public position and communication of all its actions aimed at overcoming the most acute humanitarian challenge in Europe,” he added.
Yermak called on other international organizations and humanitarian actors to take active steps, whose human rights mandate “should not allow them to stand aside and passively watch as Russia continues to commit the most brutal crimes of our time.”