Ukraine accuses Red Cross of working with Russia

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Ukraine accuses Red Cross of working with Russia

A senior Kyiv official accused the International Committee of the Red Cross of working in concert with Russia in Ukraine, a charge that the organisation denied.

Ombudswoman Lyudmyla Denisova decried the announcement last month of the ICRC that it was planning to open a branch in Russia's southern Rostov region to help Ukrainian refugees who have been forcibly deported to Russia.

The International Red Cross is not fulfilling its mission, Denisova said on Ukrainian television Wednesday after meeting with the head of the Ukrainian branch of the ICRC.

According to the United Nations, more than 550,000 Ukrainians, including 121,000 children, have been taken to Russia during the war, but Kyiv doesn't know who these people are and where they are being held.

What are the filtration camps? Are temporary facilities available? Denisova asked.

The official said she had asked both her Russian counterpart Tatyana Moskalkova and the ICRC for help in getting information about these refugees so that Ukraine could return home, but had received no response from the Red Cross or from the Red Cross. The ICRC does not help organize or carry out forced evacuations. The organisation said in a statement to the AFP that it wouldn't support any operation that would go against people's will and international law.

It added: Building and maintaining a dialogue with parties to a conflict is essential to get access to all people affected and get necessary security guarantees for our teams to deliver life-saving aid. The Red Cross has been exploring the possibility of opening an office in southern Russia.

Our sole aim is to alleviate the suffering of the people affected by the armed conflict. The suffering is immense right now.