The devastation caused by the Russian war is not lost on Vitaliy.
“But we do our job because it’s our job and our duty,” he said, referring to the Hippocratic oath that medical professionals abide by. “And, of course, once they recover, we can trade them. So I tell myself that it can help to bring back the Ukrainian soldiers.
Russia and Ukraine have taken prisoners of war since Putin’s invasion began 12 days ago. The Ukrainian side has captured at least 245 Russian soldiers, according to a website affiliated with the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.
Kyiv also issued an open appeal to the mothers of captured Russian soldiers to come and pick them up and bring them home. According to the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense Facebook pageRussian prisoners of war will be handed over to their mothers if the women personally travel to Kyiv to meet their sons in person.
“We Ukrainians, unlike Putin’s fascists, do not wage war on mothers and their captured sons,” the ministry said.
But Ukraine has also released several gruesome videos of captured Russian troops that international humanitarian law experts said could violate the Geneva Conventions.
In one video, a Russian soldier with duct tape around his head to cover his eyes is forced to call his parents to tell them he has been captured. “Nobody knew anything. They just ordered us to invade Ukraine,” he told them.
Another video shows two seriously injured Russian servicemen being interrogated in the bed of a moving van. Others show Russian soldiers making family calls and coerced confessions.
“Prisoners of war and detained civilians must be treated with dignity and are absolutely protected from mistreatment and exposure to public curiosity, including images circulating publicly on social media,” said the International Red Cross in a March 4 statement. statement.
Anton Gerashchenko, an official with the Ukrainian Interior Ministry, told BuzzFeed News that the videos of Russian prisoners were justifiable due to the extraordinary circumstances.
“We have a people’s war going on. People are filming invaders killing Ukrainians and uploading them to social media. It is their right,” he said. “Let the Red Cross mind its own business, helping with humanitarian aid and evacuation corridors in the encircled towns.”
Ukraine’s defense intelligence office said Russian servicemen were treated in accordance with the Geneva Conventions. “In particular, they receive food, clothing and medical care, and are kept in normal conditions,” he said.
Most of the civilian casualties recorded since the start of the Russian invasion, the UN human rights office said, “have been caused by the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area, including heavy artillery and multiple rocket launcher bombardments, and missiles and airstrikes.”