Why is Russia taking Ukraine civilians captive?

Russia has systematically taken Ukrainian civilians hostages as part of its war, which is strictly prohibited by international humanitarian law. Since February 2022, 9,110 civilians have been reported missing to Ukrainian authorities, and whereabouts of 6,730 of them still remain unknown.

Russia perpetrates forced disappearances of civilians mostly in regard to people related to law enforcement agencies or those who were previously servicemen or had any combat experience. Volunteers are also a risk group, just as people with an active pro-Ukrainian position. Ukraine’s Center for Civil Liberties has done considerable work tracking the abducted members of civil society and other Ukrainians. The Center has created a visual map with information on the settlements where the abductions took place with a description of each event.

Former detainees report inhuman conditions the Russians hold Ukrainian civilians in, physical and psychological torture, executions. The International Committee of the Red Cross and the United Nations should more actively demand access to places of detention in the occupied territories of Ukraine and Russia to ensure adequate conditions of imrpisonment and the observance of the captives’ rights.


  • Anna Popova, project coordinator, Center for Civil Liberties
  • Oleksandr Kononenko, representative of the Commissioner for the observance of human rights in the system of security and defense sector bodies
  • Serhiy Horhol, activist, former captive
  • Mykhailo Savva, expert, Center for Civil Liberties

UKRAINE IN FLAMES project is created by Ukraine Crisis Media Center and NGO “Euroatlantic Course”. We are aiming at searching a loud support for Ukraine in the war started by Russia on the 24th of February 2022.

If you want to support Ukraine against Russian aggression, check the link with recommendations by Ukraine Crisis Media Center – https://uacrisis.org/en/help-ukraine.

NGO Euroatlantic Course collects donations to support Ukrainian Army and civilians – https://eac.org.ua/en/main-page/.