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Ombudsman: Russians trying to use relatives of Ukrainian POWs against Ukraine

The Ukrainian Ombudsman says Russia systematically tells Ukrainian POW families that Ukraine blocks returns, demanding relatives hold protests and provide infrastructure photos to Russia.
Dmytro Lubinets
Ukraine’s Ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets. Photo from his Facebook page
Ombudsman: Russians trying to use relatives of Ukrainian POWs against Ukraine

Russia is attempting to leverage the relatives of Ukrainian prisoners of war as a tool against Ukraine, according to Dmytro Lubinets, the Verkhovna Rada Commissioner for Human Rights, who said it on Ukrainian television, reported Ukrinform.

Lubinets emphasized that Ukraine is making every effort to facilitate the repatriation of Ukrainian prisoners of war, civilian hostages, and children. He disclosed that he had recently engaged in discussions with representatives of a mediator nation regarding the imperative of unblocking the prisoner exchange process. Lubinets underscored that the impasse in the exchange process is solely attributable to Russia’s unwillingness to cooperate.

“The Russians want to use the relatives of prisoners of war against Ukraine, against the Ukrainian authorities. We have systematic facts that the Russians call the relatives and say: ‘We are ready to return them, but Ukraine does not want to take them.’ This is not true. They propose that the relatives hold rallies, block roads, administrative buildings. Or, for example, we have facts when the relatives are forced to take photos of the positions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, critical infrastructure and pass them [to the Russians],” the Ombudsman said.

Furthermore, Ukrainian paramedic and volunteer Yuliia Paievska (call sign “Taira”) who was released from Russian captivity last year, highlighted that the Russians employ manipulative tactics by asserting that Ukraine is unwilling to exchange soldiers, insisting on officer-only swaps.

Russia has been blocking prisoner exchanges for several months now.

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