IL-76 air crash: Ombudsman states International Red Cross does not demand anything from Russians
Dmytro Lubinets (Photo: Facebook)

The International Committee of the Red Cross is not fulfilling its mandate and does not demand anything from the Russians regarding Ukrainian prisoners, stated the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights, Dmytro Lubinets.

He made this statement in an interview with Voice of America, addressing the issue of Ukrainian prisoners of war who might have died during the IL-76 air crash, as claimed by the Russians.

The ombudsman said that after receiving information about the IL-76 air crash, he wrote an official letter to the ICRC, hoping to get a response regarding the Ukrainian prisoners, but there was none.

Lubinets explained that according to the rules when Russians capture someone, they must inform the ICRC representatives, who in turn should conduct an interrogation, record the medical condition, and if there are injuries, determine their severity.

After that, the ICRC notifies a special center in Geneva, which then informs relatives in Ukraine and the Coordination Headquarters for the Treatment of Prisoners of War (KSHPPV). At the same time, the Russian side simply provides lists when deciding to confirm someone's status.

The Russian side does not provide the possibility of physical access, and the ICRC does not demand it, according to the ombudsman.

He also noted that he has "a strange feeling of deja vu" – the situation with the air crash, according to him, "is a spitting image of the tragedy in Olenivka."

"Again, an attempt to launch an information campaign against our state using prisoners of war. This is not the first nor the last information campaign launched by the Russians. I assume that this disaster was intended to discredit the military aid Ukraine receives," he said.

Lubinets expressed hope that, while in the United States, he would be able to encourage U.S. officials to communicate with Red Cross representatives.

"If there is only one organization in the world with a unique mandate to protect the rights of prisoners of war, then we expect from this organization the most rapid and effective response," he said.

On January 31, Ukraine managed to free another 207 Ukrainians from Russian captivity: 180 enlisted personnel and sergeants, and 27 officers. Nearly half were defenders of Mariupol.

Representative of the Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine (HUR), Andriy Yusov, stated that this exchange completed the exchange that was supposed to occur during the IL-76 air crash on January 24, 2024. He emphasized that all individuals were exchanged, except for "a list of 65 people which Russia had claimed as supposedly deceased."

The HUR representative pointed out that all other prisoners of war from the January 24 list had returned.

Read also: IL-76 crash: Exchange list POWs not returned – HUR