Red Cross to verify treatment, conditions of surrendered Azovstal soldiers
Kyiv, May 23 (EFE).- The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said Monday that it would verify the conditions and treatment received by the Ukrainian soldiers who surrendered at the Azovstal steel plant in the coastal city of Mariupol.
The surrendered troops have been taken by Russia as prisoners of war.
Spokesperson Mirella Hodeib said the ICRC’s priority was to verify the conditions of detention and treatment of prisoners of war to prevent their disappearance and maintain contact with their families, Ukrainian state agency Ukrinform reported.
Registration of the prisoners of war by the ICRC can protect these soldiers from the risk of disappearing without a trace, she said.
However, all information on the number and personal details of the Ukrainian fighters who left the steel plant will remain confidential and will not be made public, the spokesperson said.
“We will not share publicly the lists or names of people we visited, or those who we visit in the future,” she said.
Hodeib made the remarks when asked how many Ukrainian soldiers from Azovstal, including those wounded, the ICRC has registered so far and whether their lists will be published, a figure that is unknown so far.
The spokesperson announced that families seeking information about missing relatives could contact ICRC’s Central Tracing Agency (CTA) Bureau.
She also recalled that the ICRC established a separate CTA in March to deal exclusively with the “international armed conflict in Ukraine.”
Ukrainian soldiers defended the besieged southern city of Mariupol for 80 days and ended up taking refuge from Russian strikes in the Azovstal steel plant, along with hundreds of civilians.
The soldiers began to surrender on May 16.
Many of them belong to the ultranationalist Azov regiment.
Moscow has published some videos and photographs of these soldiers, especially the wounded who are being treated in hospitals,.
However, the place where they have been transferred and the total number of prisoners are unknown. EFE