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Red Cross visits prisoners of war held by Russia and Ukraine, delivers 'much-awaited news' with families

Geneva, SwitzerlandEdited By: Anamica SinghUpdated: Dec 08, 2022, 03:59 PM IST
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Ukraine and Russia have not disclosed the numbers of prisoners of war they are holding. Photograph:(AFP)

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The ICRC said that even though the visits signify "important progress," it need to be granted unimpeded access to see all prisoners of war "repeatedly and in private". 

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has issued a statement that says it has visited more prisoners of war held by Russia and Ukraine in recent weeks. The body further said that it checked on their condition and treatment and shared "much-awaited news with their families." 

"The ICRC last week carried out one two-day visit to Ukrainian prisoners of war, with another happening this week. During the same period, visits were also carried out to Russian prisoners of war, with more visits planned by the end of the month," it said in a statement.

"Our teams were also able to provide items such as books, personal hygiene items, blankets, and warm clothes," it added.

The ICRC said that even though the visits signify "important progress," it need to be granted unimpeded access to see all prisoners of war "repeatedly and in private". 

Talking about the messages they carry to these prisoners, the statement said, "ICRC teams are reaching out to families of prisoners of war to share updates from their loved ones. Most updates are short notes of love and personal news. Some ask family members not to worry. Others ask them for cigarettes, socks, and sweets. All these messages are a lifeline for anguished relatives."

Ukraine and Russia have not disclosed the numbers of prisoners of war they are holding.

"These visits are an important step forward in preserving humanity amidst the brutality of the international armed conflict," ICRC President Mirjana Spoljaric was quoted as saying. 

(With inputs from agencies)

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