Report # 115. Humanitarian policy of Russia and Ukraine: striking difference

August 3, 2022


On August 3rd, 2022 Colonel General Alexander Fomin, Deputy Defence Minister, Russian MoD, addressed foreign military attachés accredited in Moscow. His statement was dealt with the humanitarian aspects of the Special Military Operation or SMO.

In particular, he briefed the foreign military diplomats on the efforts being made by the Russian Federation to observe the norms of international humanitarian law with regard to prisoners of war.

“Since the beginning of the special military operation in Ukraine, the Russian Federation has taken comprehensive measures to comply with international humanitarian law.

The relevant instructions to Russian servicemen were given by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu.

Alexander Fomin stated that the MoD work is based on the provisions of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, the Manual on International Humanitarian Law for the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, approved by order of the Russian Minister of Defence. The manual is a supplement to the statutory instruments and includes the main provisions of international humanitarian law, as well as recommendations for its application in the preparation for and during combat operations.

Painstaking efforts are being made to treat the detained Ukrainians in accordance with international humanitarian law, especially the Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War.

Close contacts have been established with the relevant United Nations agencies and the International Committee of the Red Cross to provide humanitarian assistance to the population living in the territories liberated from the Ukrainian Nazis and also to work with prisoners of war.


On a regular weekly basis, meetings are held with representatives of international organizations, primarily the UNO and the ICRC, to discuss the most pressing humanitarian issues on the Ukrainian direction. More than 40 such meetings have been held since February 2022.


In accordance with Article 122 of the Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, the Russian Ministry of Defence formed a Reference Bureau for Prisoners of War in February this year. The Bureau transmits information on Ukrainian prisoners of war held by the Russian side to the ICRC.

Pursuant to Article 126 of the Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, ICRC visits to places of detention are organised.

All detainees are treated in strict compliance with international humanitarian law: they are provided with decent living conditions, food standards in line with those of the Russian Armed Forces, and all necessary medical care, including complex high-tech operations using modern equipment.