Civilian hostages and civilians who have gone missing as a result of Russian aggression

Press center UCMC announce

Attention! In case of an air alert, visitors of the event can use the shelter located in the basement of the Ukrainian House ( Ukraine Crisis Media Center, Ukrainian House, 1st floor. 2 Khreshchatyk street, Kyiv 0100)

Enforced disappearances have been documented since the beginning of the military conflict in eastern Ukraine in 2014. With the full-scale invasion, the number of disappearances has increased significantly, with civilians being the main victims. Based on data from various sources, it can be assumed that more than 7,000 Ukrainian civilians may be held in at least 50 places of detention in Russia and Belarus, as well as in the occupied Ukrainian territories. The exact number is difficult to confirm due to the secretive nature of the detentions.

In response to Ukraine’s inquiries regarding the status of detained Ukrainian civilians, officials of the military police of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation only note that they were detained “for opposing a special military operation.” At the same time, the same reason is indicated in the answers about the legal status of Ukrainian prisoners of war. That is why the resolution of the UN General Assembly (2023) requires Russia to release and return all categories of Ukrainian citizens: both forcibly displaced and deported civilians. 

In the T4R database, 4,335 missing civilians have been documented, 3,342 persons have been tentatively classified as victims of enforced disappearances. In addition, 1,138 cases of arbitrary detention and unlawful custody have been documented in the database. 

The Kharkiv Human Rights Group, the Center for Civil Liberties, the UHHRU and the Ukraine Crisis Media Center invite you to discuss the issue of mass abduction/detention of Ukrainian civilians by the Russian military. The scale of the problem allows us to talk about the purposeful policy of the Russian authorities to destroy the Ukrainian people.

Experts, human rights defenders, representatives of public organizations will talk about various aspects of this large-scale problem, how to safely report a missing person, what to do in order to free Ukrainians, and how to support the families of civilian victims of enforced disappearances.

Questions for discussion: 

● Large-scale detention of Ukrainian civilians by the Russian occupation authorities is a war crime committed by the Russian Federation

● What happens to civilian hostages after detention?

● What to do if your relative is taken hostage? Instructions for relatives of civilian hostages

● What should be done to release civilian hostages?

● Where should the family turn for psychological support?

Contact person Andriy Didenko (tel.+38093- 985- 25 74) 

The event will be provided with simultaneous interpreting into English and online broadcast.