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Red Cross in fresh visits to Ukrainian, Russian POWs

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The International Committee of the Red Cross has visited Ukrainian and Russian prisoners of war over the past two weeks, delivering supplies and news to families, it said on Thursday.

“The ICRC last week carried out one two-day visit to Ukrainian prisoners of war, with another happening this week. During the same period, visits were also carried out to Russian prisoners of war, with more visits planned by the end of the month,” it said in a statement.

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The visits allowed the group “to check on their condition and treatment and share much-awaited news with their families. Our teams were also able to provide items such as books, personal hygiene items, blankets, and warm clothes.”

“ICRC teams are reaching out to families of prisoners of war to share updates from their loved ones. Most updates are short notes of love and personal news. Some ask family members not to worry. Others ask them for cigarettes, socks, and sweets. All these messages are a lifeline for anguished relatives,” the statement said.

“These visits are an important step forward in preserving humanity amidst the brutality of the international armed conflict,” ICRC President Mirjana Spoljaric was quoted as saying. “We are able to check how prisoners of war are being treated and to make sure families receive updates. My expectation is that these visits lead to more regular access to all prisoners of war.”

Ukraine and Russia have not disclosed the numbers of prisoners of war they are holding.

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