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ISW: Russia may force Ukrainian prisoners of war to fight in Ukraine

Such Russian actions violate the Geneva Convention on Prisoners of War, which ban forcing prisoners into battle
Ukrainian soldiers fighting against Russian occupiers. Credit: Volodymyr Zelenskyy via Telegram
ISW: Russia may force Ukrainian prisoners of war to fight in Ukraine

The Kremlin appears to be coercing prisoners of war into fighting for Russia in the war in Ukraine, possibly breaking international law, ISW reported

On 27 October, Russian state media reported that a new “volunteer” battalion called Bohdan Khmelnytskyy had been formed from around 70 Ukrainian POWs held in Russian penal colonies.

The battalion has reportedly begun training and will be sent to the frontlines when ready. However, analysts at the Institute for the Study of War said forcing prisoners into combat roles could violate the Geneva Conventions on POWs. The conventions aim to protect POWs from being forced to act against their own country.

“No prisoner of war may at any time be sent to or detained in areas where he may be exposed to the fire of the combat zone” and shall not “be employed on labour which is of an unhealthy or dangerous nature,” according to Geneva Convention on Prisoners of War.

Other takeaways from the ISW report:

  • Ukrainian forces marginally advanced on the east (left) bank of Kherson Oblast and continued offensive operations near Bakhmut and in western Zaporizhzhia Oblast on October 27.
  • Russian authorities reportedly arrested Russian citizens who allegedly used Telegram channels, including some that identify themselves as insider sources, to extort money from Russian officials.
  • Russian forces continued offensive operations near Avdiivka on October 27 but did not make any confirmed advances. US National Security Council Spokesperson John Kirby stated on 26 October that Russian forces have suffered thousands of casualties and have lost at least 125 armoured vehicles in recent offensive operations near Avdiivka.
  • Chechen Republic Head Ramzan Kadyrov announced the formation of a second Chechen volunteer formation named for a second Chechen figure who fought against imperial Russian rule.

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