The wife of a Ukrainian fighter imprisoned by Russia on Tuesday called for his release after a UN rights official said monitors had documented two counts of torture of Ukrainian prisoners to death.
Some Ukrainian soldiers who held a week-long siege in the Battle of Mariupol City before finally surrendering in May were released last month. However, others hiding in the besieged Azovstal steelworks in the port city remain captive, including the husband of Lilia Stupina, a 24-year-old former data research analyst who quit his job to seek his release.
“That’s why we are here: to say to the world that the world save them, that the world free them, because these heroes, they are in hell now, they were in hell for 86 days in Azovstal and they are in hell in Russian captivity. in,” Stupina, who co-founded the ‘Association of Azovostal Defenders’ families, told Reuters shortly before addressing the United Nations Human Rights Council.
“Today the United Nations must prove more than ever its ability to protect human rights,” she told the Geneva-based body, which is meeting to discuss abuses in the country. Ukraine.
At the same meeting, a UN official described a “horrific report” of torture of captured Ukrainian fighters, which he documented as part of a comprehensive report on the human rights situation in Ukraine. This included reports on civilian killings, sexual violence as well as the treatment of POWs.
“In most documented cases, Ukrainian prisoners of war were subjected to detention or abuse,” Christian Salazar Volkman, director of field operations at the United Nations Office of Rights, told the council.
“In two of these cases, Ukrainian soldiers were sentenced to death,” he said.
Russia’s envoy Guzal Khusanova called the findings “one-sided and unbalanced”. The OHCHR also said that it had documented cases of harassment and abuse of Russian POWs by Ukrainian forces, but “on a lesser scale”.
The OHCHR said its report is based on information gathered through 78 field visits, 20 visits to places of detention and more than 1,000 interviews with victims and witnesses of human rights violations, their relatives, lawyers and government officials.
Russia, which was suspended from voting in the Human Rights Council over the invasion of Ukraine, denies torture or other forms of abuse of POWs. Moscow says its forces in Ukraine are engaged in a “special military operation” to disarm the country and drive away right-wing nationalists who see Russia as a threat to its security.