May 29, 2024, 14:29

russia refuses to communicate: Expert highlights challenges in finding records relating to Ukrainians missing in action

Efforts to locate missing Ukrainians, both civilians and military personnel, are being severely hampered by a lack of cooperation from russia. The aggressor state does not provide Ukraine, although it withholds crucial information about who is in captivity, complicating identification efforts.

Maria Klymyk, a journalist with the Media Initiative for Human Rights (MIHR) and author of the article “57th Brigade Soldiers Missing in Action: Heavy Combat, Death, Captivity, and the Search,” emphasized these challenges at the Media Center Ukraine – Ukrinform.

“We currently estimate that around 38,000 people are missing, including both civilians and military personnel. This figure is not definitive because we face a significant problem with communication from the russian side. They do not provide any information on who is in russian custody, which makes it difficult to identify those detained, confirm deaths, or determine who is unaccounted for. Witnesses who could provide information are either in captivity themselves, deceased, or located in combat zones without means of communication,” Klymyk explained.

Klymyk stressed the importance of prisoner exchanges for gathering information, particularly regarding those still in captivity. Released prisoners are a primary source of information about others still held. Additionally, families of the missing play a crucial role in the information-gathering process.

Maria Klymyk specifically underscored the case of the 57th Brigade, where families have been actively involved in the search for their missing loved ones.

“The story of the 57th Brigade is crucial because it mirrors the experiences of many other brigades currently engaged in intense combat. There are numerous missing individuals in these brigades, and their families have been tirelessly seeking information for two years to bring them home,” Klymyk added.

Read more: