Red Cross says it is registering hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers leaving the Azovstal steel plant

Zahid Mahmood

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) says it has registered hundreds of Ukrainian prisoners of war who have left the Azovstal steel works in Mariupol this week.

On Tuesday the ICRC started “to register combatants leaving the Azovstal plant, including the wounded, at the request of the parties,” it said in a statement from its headquarters in Geneva.

“The operation continued Wednesday and was still ongoing Thursday,” it added.

Russia has said that some 1,700 Ukrainian soldiers have left the plant — but several hundred more are reportedly still inside.

“The ICRC is not transporting POWs to the places where they are held,” said the ICRC. “The registration process that the ICRC facilitated involves the individual filling out a form with personal details like name, date of birth and closest relative,” reads the statement.

“This information allows the ICRC to track those who have been captured and help them keep in touch with their families,” it added.

“In accordance with the mandate given to the ICRC by States under the 1949 Geneva Conventions, the ICRC must have immediate access to all POWs in all places where they are held,” continued the statement.

“The ICRC must be allowed to interview prisoners of war without witnesses, and the duration and frequency of these visits should not be unduly restricted,” said the organization. “Whenever circumstances permit, each party to the conflict must take all possible measures to search for and collect the dead.”

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