As preparations for trials of Ukrainian prisoners of war go ahead in Mariupol, advisor to the Office of the President, Mykhailo Podoliak, has called on the International Committee of the Red Cross to intervene and prevent the trials from going ahead.

“All prisoners of war, in particular, the defenders of the “Azovstal” plant, are combatants who legally defended their country. Therefore, the Mariupol cells are an official war crime [committed] by Russia. It is time for the Red Cross and Peter Maurer [President of the ICRC] to remember their purpose … and think about their reputation,” Podoliak said.

Already in July, Ukrainian intelligence reported that the Russian occupiers were preparing to hold a fake “investigation” at the Mariupol Drama Theater involving Ukrainian combatants who would be charged with war crimes.

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More recently, on their Telegram channel, Mariupol City Council confirmed that prison cages with reinforced bars, 20 mm in diameter, are being assembled on the stage of the Mariupol Chamber Philharmonic so that the “trial” of the soldiers can take place there in September.

The Mayor of Mariupol, Vadym Boichenko, also urged the UN, and the Red Cross to intervene and prevent the trials “So that the rules for treating military prisoners are followed.”  “We must do everything so that our defenders return to Ukraine alive and prevent a second Olenivka in Mariupol,” he added.

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Russian mass media has reported that the Donetsk militants will also begin examining the “criminal case” of five captured foreigners on August 15.

The Ukrainian General Staff stated that all foreign fighters defending Ukraine are combatants and are, therefore, protected under the Geneva Convention.

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