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Ukraine's mission to OSCE calls on Russia to release journalist Dmytro Khyliuk

28.07.2023, 16:57

The head of the Ukrainian mission to the OSCE, Yevheniy Tsymbaliuk, raised the issue of releasing civilian hostages taken by Russia at the July 27 meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna, mentioning the abduction of UNIAN correspondent Dmytro Khyliuk as an example, reports Ukrinform.

"I would like to repeat my appeal from the last Permanent Council meeting regarding civilian hostages. No other modern conflict has seen crimes committed on this scale, with Russia holding thousands of civilians hostage. We urgently need new international mechanisms to punish the abductors of civilians and ensure that the hostages return home safely," Tsymbaliuk said.

He added that the map of facilities where Russia keeps unlawfully detained Ukrainians, which was presented to the OSCE by a Ukrainian NGO in May, 'should not remain just another study' and instead should become 'the basis for the OSCE's further action, in particular by the ODIHR and the Center for Conflict Prevention."

"The case of Dmytro Khyliuk, a Ukrainian journalist, is illustrative in this regard. He was abducted from his family's home in Kyiv oblast back in March 2022, in the second week of the Russian invasion," Tsymbaliuk said.

He cited a recent report by Reporters Without Borders, which established that Dmytro was alive and held in pre-trial detention center No. 2 in Novozybkov, Bryansk region of Russia, and is now in a prison in the Vladimir region. According to the ambassador, "it is usurprising that the Russian authorities deny detaining him."

"But we cannot allow these people to simply get lost as they are moved from one place to another. This crime should be under constant scrutiny. This will save lives and restore people's freedom," Tsymbaliuk stressed.

In addition, he raised the issue of Russia staging a trial against over 18 Mariupol defenders who are now prisoners of war in Rostov-on-Don. "This case is only part of Russia's campaign to dehumanize Ukrainians. Therefore, we call on ODIHR to closely monitor this case. These people must be released," the ambassador said.

According to IMI, on July 13, the RSF reported that Dmytro Khyliuk, UNIAN journalist abducted by Russian soldiers in March 2022, is possibly in one of the prisons in the Vladimir region of Russia.

UNIAN journalist Dmytro Khyliuk has been in Russian captivity since March 2022 as a civilian hostage. Such prisoners should be released separately from POW swaps, but the Russians are not doing this.

In May 2023, the Verkhovna Rada Commissioner for Human Rights, Dmytro Lubinets, said that he was personally monitoring the issue UNIAN journalist Dmytro Khyliuk's release from Russian captivity.

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 (violation of the laws and customs of war).

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.

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