The International Committee of the Red Cross did not guarantee the safety of the Ukrainian defenders of Azovstal steelworks held in Russian captivity.

“We did not guarantee the safety of the POWs once in enemy hands because it is not within our power to do so. We had made this clear to the parties in advance. It is the obligation of parties to the conflict to ensure POWs are protected against acts of violence, intimidation, and public curiosity, as well as against the effects of hostilities. Only the parties to the conflict can definitively ensure the safety and security of POWs,” reads the ICRC statement published on the organization’s website.

It is noted that ICRC representatives managed to visit some prisoners of war “held by the parties”, but they do not have access to all prisoners, in particular those held at the penal facility in Olenivka.


The ICRC also emphasizes that the organization acted as a “neutral intermediary” facilitating the safe passage of the military out of the Azovstal plant.

After the explosion in Olenivka, which killed Ukrainian prisoners, the Red Cross requested access to the Olenivka penal facility, offering to support the evacuation of the wounded and to donate medical supplies. The request remained unanswered.

As reported, on the night of July 29, a powerful explosion occurred in the building where Ukrainian POWs were held in the territory of former penal colony No. 210 in Olenivka, temporarily occupied territory of Donetsk region. According to the Russian side, about 50 Ukrainian defenders were killed, and more than 70 were seriously injured.
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba called on the UN to visit the colony in Olenivka to establish all the facts of the crime committed by Russian troops and urged the International Committee of the Red Cross to check all Ukrainian prisoners of war.

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