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ISW: Russia officially deploys Ukrainian POWs to front lines

Ukrainian prisoners of war are being forced into combat roles against their own country by Russia, which violates international law
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ISW: Russia officially deploys Ukrainian POWs to front lines

Russia officially deployed a battalion formed of Ukrainian prisoners of war (POWs) to the frontline in Ukraine, constituting a violation of the Geneva Convention on POWs, ISW said in its daily report.

Soldiers from the Bohdan Khmelnitskyi battalion, formed of Ukrainian POWs and subordinated to the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DNR”) Ministry of Internal Affairs “Kaskad” formation, took part in their first engagement against Ukrainian forces near Urozhaine, Donetsk Oblast, Russian state-controlled outlets RIA Novosti reported on 28 December.

The Geneva Convention prohibits the use of POWs in military activities on the side of the power that has captured them and states that ‘no POW 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 labor which is of an unhealthy or dangerous nature, ISW reported.

The battalion recruited around 70 Ukrainian POWs from penal colonies in Russia and sent them to train before deploying to the western Donetsk Oblast area in early November 2023, ISW reported on 27 October, citing Russian media.

Other takeaways from the ISW report:

  • Ukrainian military officials revealed that Russian forces launched about 7,400 missiles and 3,900 Shahed drone strikes against Ukraine since launching the full-scale invasion.
  • Russian mines continue to threaten civilian vessels in the Black Sea but will likely not deter civilian vessel usage of the Black Sea Humanitarian Corridor.
  • Ukrainian forces made a confirmed advance near Bakhmut, likely within the past week.
  • Russian forces made confirmed advances northwest of Avdiivka, near Marinka, and south of Hulyaipole.
  • Russian occupation officials continue to deport Ukrainian children to Russia under the guise of medical necessity despite an apparently growing number of cases of highly infectious diseases being transmitted among Ukrainian children en route to Russia.

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