Ukraine: Religious leaders call for release of captive Ukrainians

The All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations appealed to a number of institutions to facilitate the release of captive Ukrainians, political prisoners and other hostages held in Russia and in the occupied territories of Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts. Letters signed by the Chairman of the AUCCRO Rabbi Yakov Dov Bleich were sent both to the leadership of the Russian Federation and to the World Council of Churches, the Interreligious Council of Russia and other interdenominational institutions, the Institute of Religious Freedom reports.

“The All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations is calling on you to do everything possible to ensure that the process of release of Ukrainian citizens, prisoners and hostages held captive for political reasons gets unlocked so they may be released soon,” the appeals reiterate. The AUCCRO draws attention to the fact that it is the matter of people who, according to numerous testimonies and conclusions of international organizations, are held in adverse conditions of detention, and in some cases are subject to tortures, have no access to medical care. Every day of their stay in custody inflicts serious damage to their health and deeply aggrieves their relatives and loved ones. “No less disturbing is the fate of the group of Ukrainian citizens convicted for political reasons who are held now in Russian prisons. The very fact of their condemnation attests to the violation of the rule of law principle on political grounds,” AUCCRO emphasizes. 

The All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations stated that it shares the position of many international organizations, including non-governmental ones, with the need for the fastest release of captive Ukrainians, other captives of the Kremlin and hostages in the occupied territories of Ukraine. Religious leaders also called for their decent conditions of detention, in accordance with the norms of international humanitarian law and respect for human life, bequeathed by the Creator, until their release. Earlier, the Council of Churches invited all believers and all local religious communities to pray during religious services for the release of Ukrainian sailors and other captives of the Kremlin. (Quelle:, 23. Januar 2019)