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Families of Russian Soldiers in Ukrainian Captivity Report Cases of ‘Extortion’: Ombudswoman

By Svetlana Ekimenko – Samizdat – 15.01.2023

Human Rights Commissioner Tatyana Moskalkova has denounced alleged instances of extortion against relatives of Russian soldiers taken prisoner by Ukraine’s Armed Forces.

“I received this chilling footage on January 14 from the relatives of captured Russian servicemen Vladislav Kovalenko and Piotr Krikunov. Using unknown accounts, anonymous non-humans show mothers scenes of their sons being tortured, and threaten to kill them if they do not receive a ransom. Yet more evidence for the future tribunal over the Nazis!” wrote Moskalkova on her Telegram messaging app on January 14.

The Russian official accompanied her post with video footage allegedly showing proof of such extortion taking place.

The ombudswoman said that family members of Russian soldiers had reported cases when they were sent horrifying scenes of violence used against the prisoners. Such materials were allegedly accompanied by threats that the captives would be killed unless their relatives paid a ransom sum.

The ombudswoman underscored that such instances were proof that “fascism” is not some horrifying page of history, but that it is “here and now, among us.”
Tatyana Moskalkova added:

“I urge the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights, the UN Committee against Torture, the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the International Committee of the Red Cross to demand that the Ukrainian side immediately comply with the Geneva Convention of 1949, which prohibits torture, violence and acts degrading to human dignity.”

Moskalkova concluded by saying that she was working on an appeal to the Russian Investigative Committee chief Alexander Bastrykin on the reported cases, and voiced confidence that the captured soldiers would be successfully released, as has been the case before, in joint efforts by the Russian Defense Ministry and Russian Federal Security Service.

On Sunday, January 8, as a result of an exchange of prisoners, 50 Russian soldiers were released, the Ministry of Defense reported. The prisoner swap was the first in 2023. The previous such exchange, according to the MOD, took place on December 31, 2022, when 82 Russian servicemen returned from Ukrainian captivity.

January 15, 2023 - Posted by | War Crimes |

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