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ICMP: 30,000 civilians missing in Ukraine since February 2022

The cases of the missing may include civilians who were separated from their families or detained, unidentified victims of war, and illegally deported children, ICMP chief said.
A woman walks in a damaged field as damaged buildings are seen behind after shelling at the Vitryani Hory area in Kyiv, Ukraine on 27 March, 2022.
ICMP: 30,000 civilians missing in Ukraine since February 2022

The number of missing Ukrainian civilians has reached around 30,000 since Russia launched its full-scale invasion in February 2022, according to the head of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP).

At this time, it’s approximately 30,000 persons. And that’s just civilians. And at this point, I’m not sure exactly who that figure includes,” said ICMP Director-General Kathryn Bomberger in an interview with Suspilne.

Ukraine, OSCE to coordinate on returning deported Ukrainian children, civilians from Russian captivity

Bomberger explained that the number could encompass a wide range of circumstances in which people have gone missing. “It can be people who have been separated from their families. It can be people who are in detention without access to communication. It can be people who have been killed in the fighting, but their bodies have not been identified, and the families don’t know where they are,” she said.

It can be children who have been illegally deported. So there are many different circumstances in which people can go missing.

The ICMP chief noted that the figures continue to rise as the war drags on.

“Even before the full-scale invasion, there was a very large number of missing from 2014. And I first came here in 2014 after the mass graves were uncovered in Sloviansk. But those figures, while high, were not as high as today. They are much higher now and continue to grow,” Bomberger stated.

She called it a “serious concern” that requires states to take responsibility and ensure evidence is provided to international courts under the rule of law. “It’s very important that all of these facts are verified through a judicial process and that these investigations are conducted by judicial institutions,” Bomberger said.

Earlier this year, Ukraine’s Deputy Interior Minister Leonid Timchenko said authorities had information on around 26,000 missing persons from the war, including 11,000 civilians and 15,000 military personnel.

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