Russian POWs will work to ‘restore’ Ukraine’s economy, Ukrainian officials say

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Russian POWs will ultimately be used to “restore Ukraine’s economy” in accordance with the Geneva Conventions, Ukraine’s Interior Ministry said on Tuesday.

Deputy Interior Minister Yevhen Yenin made the announcement during a Ukrainian telethon. Yenin said Ukraine would respect all norms of international humanitarian law.

“And that is what distinguishes us from the Russian aggressor, who shoots at civilians, launches rockets and bombs at houses,” Yenin said in a translated message on the the ministry’s Facebook page. “And I’m not talking about the treatment of our military.”

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11 Russian soldiers captured by Ukrainian forces give a statement to the press on March 5, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine.
(Andriy Dubchak/dia images via Getty Images)

“We will use all the opportunities that the Geneva Conventions give us in this regard. That is, the use of labor, etc.,” Yenin added. “All these people will work later to restore Ukraine’s economy.”

In the Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of Wara detaining power may call on the labor of prisoners of war “physically fit, taking into account their age, sex, rank and physical aptitudes, and with a view in particular to keeping them in a good state of physical health and mental”. “

Ukraine's Deputy Foreign Minister Yevhen Yenin is pictured during the briefing on the landing of the third evacuation flight from Kabul, Afghanistan at Boryspil International Airport, Kyiv region, central Ukraine.

Ukraine’s Deputy Foreign Minister Yevhen Yenin is pictured during the briefing on the landing of the third evacuation flight from Kabul, Afghanistan at Boryspil International Airport, Kyiv region, central Ukraine.
((Hennadii Minchenko/Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty Images))

Prisoners of war must also benefit from suitable working conditions, “particularly with regard to accommodation, food, clothing and equipment”. These conditions must not be inferior to those enjoyed by the nations of the detaining power “in similar works”.

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The work must also not be unhealthy or dangerous, and the daily duration may not exceed that “authorized for civilian workers in the district”.

Two Russian soldiers taken prisoner near Kiev, by Ukraine following the Russian military operation in Ukraine on February 24, 2022.

Two Russian soldiers taken prisoner near Kiev, by Ukraine following the Russian military operation in Ukraine on February 24, 2022.
(Embassy of Ukraine in Ankara/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

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Thousands of people died during the Russian invasion, and more than 2 million people have already fled Ukraine, according to the United Nations.

Christi C. Elwood