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1+1 media and UNIAN call for a global effort to help release Dmytro Khyliuk from Russian captivity

18.05.2023, 11:12
Photo: Dmytro Khyliuk on Facebook
Photo: Dmytro Khyliuk on Facebook

The 1+1 media group addressed the international media and human rights communities with a request to facilitate the release of the captive UNIAN reporter Dmytro Khyliuk and all the civilians that Russia has been unlawfully holding hostage since the start of the full-scale war in Ukraine. This is stated in the address published on the media group's website.

The journalist has been in Russian captivity for over a year. Dmytro and his father Vasyl Khyliuk were kidnapped by Russian security forces on March 3, 2022. Eight days later, the father was released, but the journalist remained in prison.

As of May 2023, Dmytro Khyliuk's parents have only gotten one piece of news about their son – a short note written by him in a Russian prison last April, says the address.

"Dmytro Khyliuk's official status is that of a civilian hostage. As per international law, such people should be released separately from special prisoner swaps. In the year of the big war, the relevant state structures have recommended not to disclose any information about this case so as not to impede his release, but now this data is already available and in the open. We call on the international community to raise maximum awareness of this situation and to do everything in their power so that the aggressor country releases Dmytro Khyliuk, as well as all the civilians they are still holding captive in inhumane conditions," 1+1 media noted.

The media group appeals to the representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross, the European Federation of Journalists and the International Federation of Journalists, the European Commission and personally to the President of the European Commission, Mrs. Ursula von der Leyen, with a request to facilitate the release of Dmytro Khyliuk and to raise maximum awareness of this case.

As IMI reported, UNIAN journalist Dmytro Khyliuk has been in Russian captivity for over a year. His official status is not that of a POW, but of a civilian hostage. Such prisoners should be released separate from military prisoner swaps, but the Russians are not doing this.

Russian soldiers kidnapped Dmytro Khyliuk on February 26, 2022, in the garden of his own house in Kozarovychi. He was first kept in the occupied Dymer, and then taken to a prison in Russia.

Kozarovychi was de-occupied on March 31. Ukrainian investigators soon arrived in the village and took the testimony from Dmytro's father, Vasyl Khylyuk, about his son being captured and kidnapped. In May, state prosecutor Oleksandr Vinnytsky visited Kozarovychi and interviewed the journalist's father once more. The Prosecutor General's Office has opened a case regarding the abduction of civilians on the territory of the Dymer hromada. The investigation considers journalist Dmytro Khylyuk and his father victims. The case was opened under Part 1 of Art. 438 of the Criminal Code. This article, in particular, deals with violation of the laws and customs of war, such as abuse of POWs or the civilian population, deportation of civilians for forced labor, looting of national assets in the occupied territory, using means of warfare prohibited by international law, as well as other violations of laws and customs of war stipulated by international treaties.

In April 2022, the journalist's parents received a call from the Coordination Headquarters for the Treatment of Prisoners of War and were informed that Russia had confirmed that the journalist was being detained there.

In August, with the help of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Dmytro Khylyuk's parents were able to receive a letter from him, in an envelope stamped "Russian Post Service". The letter contained one sentence: "Dear mom, dad, I'm alive, in good health, I'm fine."

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