These lists are formed on the basis of data from state bodies, institutions, public and international organizations that, within their own powers, account for civilian Ukrainians who have fallen into the hands of the aggressor state.
In Ukraine, the register of civilian hostages of the Russian Federation is maintained by the National Information Bureau under the Ministry of Reintegration.
As of today, the NIB register contains 963 civilian hostages in Ukraine. However, it is obvious that there are many more such people – both those who were captured before February 24, 2022, and those who became hostages with the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion.
Holding civilian hostages in captivity is a violation of international humanitarian law. After all, civilians cannot be taken prisoner and exchanged, as is the case with the military. However, the occupiers ignore the laws of war and the articles of the Geneva Convention.
Ukraine is forced to conduct difficult negotiations every time to secure the release of its civilians, which from time to time takes place alongside the exchange of prisoners of war.
The negotiation process for prisoners of war is led by the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine. As for civilians, it is the Office of the Ombudsman.
The audit of the lists of civilian hostages, initiated by the Ministry of Reintegration, is aimed at clarifying the number and other data on Ukrainian civilians in Russian captivity.
“We are launching this audit to ensure complete, high-quality and proper accounting of all Ukrainians who have been illegally detained by the aggressor state over the 9 years of war,” commented Oleksandr Smyrnov, head of the National Information Bureau.