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Whereabouts of UNIAN correspondent Dmytro Khylyuk, previously captured by the Russians, are still unknown – MIHR

23.12.2022, 15:32

The exact whereabouts of UNIAN correspondent Dmytro Khylyuk, previously captured by the Russians, are unknown.

This is reported by the Media Initiative for Human Rights (MIHR).

At the start of the invasion, he stayed at home and kept working at UNIAN. Khylyuk has been kidnapped on March 3 in Kozarovychi, in the backyard of his own house. He was held in occupied Dymer and later taken to a pre-trial detention center 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.

Dmytro Khylyuk's relatives remained unaware of his whereabouts for a long time. However, in late April they 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 held detained in the Russian Federation.

In May, the Media Initiative for Human Rights managed to speak to Ihor Shostak, a Kozarovychi resident who had been released in a prisoner swap. He said: "My cellmates did hear the name Khylyuk there, at the detention center."

He was talking about the pre-trial detention center No. 2 in the city of Novozybkov, Bryansk region.

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, healthy, I'm fine." It was dated April 14. The parents wrote and delivered another letter in response, but its fate is unknown, as there are no guarantees that the ICRC was able to arrange letter delivery to the kidnapped Ukrainians.

It is unclear whether Dmytro Khylyuk is still being held in Novozybkov. After all, as witnesses who got out of Russian captivity via prisoner swaps told MIHR, the Russians move prisoners between different detention centers. Namely, civilians previously held in Bryansk region have been transferred to a pre-trial detention center in Kursk, a colony in Kamensk-Shakhtinsky (Rostov region), and detention facilities in Sevastopol.

As IMI reported, on March 28, journalist Natalia Bohuta reported that Dmytro Khylyuk had gone missing and was probably being held captive by the Russian military. Despite the Kyiv oblast having been liberated from the Russian occupiers, UNIAN journalist Dmytro Khylyuk was not found, and there has been no contact with him since early March of this year.

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