Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member Latest Breaking News Editorials & Other Articles General Discussion The DU Lounge All Forums Issue Forums Culture Forums Alliance Forums Region Forums Support Forums Help & Search

Crunchy Frog

(26,767 posts)
Tue May 7, 2024, 04:17 PM May 7

The hostage crisis nobody talks about.

Thousands of Ukrainians have been sent to Russian prisons. Ukraine says they’re being held as bargaining chips

Kyiv, Ukraine CNN —

“Dear mom and dad, I am alive and well. I am doing well. Dima.” Handwritten on a small piece of paper, this is the only message Halyna and Vasyl Khyliuk have received from their son Dmytro Khyliuk, known as Dima, since he was taken by Russian troops more than two years ago. The Ukrainian journalist was detained in March 2022 during the occupation of his village, Kozarovychi, north of Kyiv. As far as his parents know, the 49-year-old correspondent for the Ukrainian Independent Information Agency was transferred to Russia, where he is still being held despite – according to his lawyer – having never been convicted or charged.

The Ukrainian government says there are thousands of people like Dima, civilians arrested by Russia who have been held in arbitrary detention for years. Kyiv has officially confirmed around 1,700 cases, but human rights researchers estimate the real number is five to seven times higher. In all, some 37,000 Ukrainians – civilian adults and children, and military members – are unaccounted for, according to the Ukrainian ombudsman’s office, which says that people are still being seized in areas under Russian occupation. CNN cannot independently verify the number of detainees. Many of those detained have been moved to prisons deep inside Russia, kept alongside criminals and prisoners of war, in breach of international humanitarian law. Human rights groups have identified some 100 detention facilities across Russia and occupied areas of Ukraine where civilians are being held, including several that have been opened or expanded specifically to accommodate them.


“The Russians want to recognize a lot of them as military combatants and give them prisoner of war status … the main reason being (to build) a bank of POWs for exchanges,” Ukraine’s human rights commissioner, Dmytro Lubinets, told CNN in Kyiv. Lubinets said that recognizing Ukrainian civilians as prisoners of war would be both illegal and dangerous, because it would put Ukrainians in occupied areas at higher risk of being detained to be used as bargaining chips. “These people are not prisoners of war; they are civilian hostages. I use that word to emphasize what the Russian Federation is doing – they are holding civilians as hostages,” he said. Under the Geneva Conventions, that regulate the conduct of armed conflict, hostage-taking is explicitly banned. Warring parties can intern people, including civilians. But the rules on who can be detained, why and for how long are strict.


Pantielieieva, the MIHR researcher, said she believes Russia would take advantage of any decision to recognize civilians as prisoners of war and detain even more. “The number of people they are taking is already great, they are doing it every day,” she said, adding that the latest case of a “disappeared” civilian had landed on her desk just a few days earlier. Volunteers, journalists and teachers are among those Russia has appeared interested in detaining, according to the human rights groups monitoring the arrests, but often there is no discernable reason why someone has been scooped up. “Some people were taken because their house was not far from Russian positions. Or maybe they had a video of (Ukrainian President Volodymyr) Zelensky on their phones. Or the Russians were interested in their relatives and took them hostage,” Pantielieieva said.


I'm not seeing a significant difference between russia's hostage taking, and Hamas's. Apart from the sheer numbers and scale, the length of the detentions and their continuous and ongoing nature, and the fact that the world is pretty much ignoring it.

(I'm not trying to downplay the plight or horror of the Israeli hostage situation. Just wanting to point out that it's not the only one.)

4 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
Highlight: NoneDon't highlight anything 5 newestHighlight 5 most recent replies
The hostage crisis nobody talks about. (Original Post) Crunchy Frog May 7 OP
Never a ceasefire demanded of Russia either. No protesting Russia on college campuses. jimfields33 May 7 #1
And no permission or weapons given to Ukraine to flatten russian cities in response. Crunchy Frog May 7 #2
Yep. Excellent point. jimfields33 May 7 #3
Giving this a kick because Crunchy Frog May 8 #4

Crunchy Frog

(26,767 posts)
2. And no permission or weapons given to Ukraine to flatten russian cities in response.
Tue May 7, 2024, 04:29 PM
May 7

Just a demand that they patiently witness their own cities get flattened while taking excruciating care to avoid inflicting any russian civilian casualties, or risk losing all aid.

Crunchy Frog

(26,767 posts)
4. Giving this a kick because
Wed May 8, 2024, 06:12 PM
May 8

I think think this is important as a case of hostage taking and terror on a massive scale, that's been taking place for more than 2 years now.

We can't allow these events to become the new normal and just part of the background noise.

We should be trying to get all the hostages freed.

Latest Discussions»General Discussion»The hostage crisis nobody...