I would like to urgently draw your attention to another blatant violation by the Kiev regime of its obligations under the Third Geneva Convention relative to the treatment of prisoners of war.

We were informed by the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation that the exchange of prisoners of war planned for today (6 April 2022) was unilaterally disrupted by the Ukrainian side. The list of 251 military personnel declared for exchange was repeatedly reviewed and reduced by Kiev, and came down to 38. This morning, the Ukrainian side rejected the exchange without explanation. At the same time, on our part, the preparation of Ukrainian prisoners of war according to a large list of 251 Ukrainian servicemen was carried out in full, including their transportation to the initial area for exchange.

The Ukrainian side, even in this purely humanitarian issue, shows inconsistency and complete indifference to the fate of its own citizens. The Kiev authorities have been disrupting the exchange of prisoners of war on previously agreed terms for a long time.

We also have concrete evidence proving that the detained military personnel of the Armed Forces of Russia are kept in inhumane conditions. We have many times drawn attention to the fact that the detainees of the Russian military personnel are being wilfully killed, tortured and treated inhumanely, and all these brutal acts are widely shared on the Internet and on social media, on some occasions – on purpose – as “proud” acts of nationalists.

In this regard, it is clear that Ukraine is violating even the most fundamental guarantees related to the prohibition of “murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture” (article 3 of the Third Geneva Convention of 1949). It should be stressed that, under article 130 of the Convention, such acts constitute “grave breaches” – in other words, war crimes. Finally, the systemic and widespread character of such violations clearly points to the fact that Kiev is hardly doing anything to prevent such horrendous acts from reoccurring.

In this regard, we are expecting the United Nations leadership to act without delay. Namely, to demand that the Ukrainian authorities immediately provide access for representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross to Russian prisoners of war, in order to assess the conditions of detention and conduct an in-depth medical examination, with the subsequent transfer of relevant documents to the Russian side and international organizations.

In the meantime, the Joint Coordination Headquarters of the Russian Federation for the Humanitarian Response in Ukraine states that the Russian side reassures that all Ukrainian prisoners of war are treated in compliance with all the obligations of the Third Geneva Convention of 1949.

I would be grateful if the present letter could be circulated as a document of the Security Council.