More than 1,700 Ukrainian troops have surrendered in recent days after weeks of defending the port city of Mariupol, Russian authorities said, with some taken to areas controlled by Russian-backed separatists.
Now, some are voicing fears that Russians may inflict retribution on the troops.
The International Committee of the Red Cross is trying to register the Ukrainian troops as prisoners of war, gathering personal information from hundreds of soldiers, as part of its role in ensuring the humane treatment of POWs under the Geneva Conventions.
Amnesty International said in a tweet that the Ukrainian soldiers are now prisoners of war and as such “must not be subjected to any form of torture or ill-treatment.”
Ukrainian officials have expressed hope for a prisoner exchange, but Russian authorities have threatened to investigate and put on trial some of the soldiers for war crimes, calling them Nazis and criminals.
►The Senate approved more than $40 billion of additional humanitarian and military assistance for Ukraine on Thursday, sending the bill to President Joe Biden’s desk.
►12 people were killed and dozens were wounded in attacks on Severodonetsk, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Thursday.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday that Russia is weaponizing food “to break the spirit of the Ukrainian people.”
Blinken told the U.N. Security Council that the war has halted maritime trade in large areas of the Black Sea, creating dangerous navigation and trapping Ukrainian agricultural exports.
Russian naval operations have attempted to block Ukrainian ports which the United States assesses to be “a deliberate effort” to block safe passage and shut down shipping, he said.
The executive director of the U.N.’s World Food Program, David Beasley, said the growing worldwide hunger as a result of the war will add at least 47 million people to the 276 million “marching to starvation” even before Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24.
Contributing: The Associated Press