Russia assumes “protective” role for Azovstal PWs.

Buses carrying service members of Ukrainian forces who have surrendered after weeks holed up at Azovstal steel works drive away under escort of the pro-Russian military in the course of Ukraine-Russia conflict in Mariupol,

“The Kremlin said the combatants would be treated in line with international norms, though some Russian lawmakers demanded they be tried for war crimes and one demanded they face the death penalty. read more

The Swiss-based International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said it had registered those leaving the plant to keep track of prisoners.

It also explicitly set out the rules of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, the body of international law relating to the treatment of captured military personnel and civilians.

“The ICRC must have immediate access to all POWs in all places where they are held,” it said. “The ICRC must be allowed to interview prisoners of war without witnesses.””

“The official mission statement says that: “The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is an impartial, neutral, and independent organization whose exclusively humanitarian mission is to protect the lives and dignity of victims of war and internal violence and to provide them with assistance.” It also conducts and coordinates international relief and works to promote and strengthen international humanitarian law and universal humanitarian principles.[28] The core tasks of the committee, which are derived from the Geneva Conventions and its own statutes[29] are:
  • to monitor compliance of warring parties with the Geneva Conventions
  • to organize nursing and care for those who are wounded on the battlefield
  • to supervise the treatment of prisoners of war and make confidential interventions with detaining authorities
  • to help with the search for missing persons in an armed conflict (tracing service)
  • to organize protection and care for civil populations
  • to act as a neutral intermediary between warring parties

The ICRC drew up seven fundamental principles in 1965 that were adopted by the entire Red Cross Movement.[30] They are humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, volunteerism, unity, and universality.[31]” wiki on the ICRC.

Comment: Russia is a signatory to the 4th Geneva Convention concerning prisoners of war. One of the basic provisions is that the ICRC shall register and maintain a record of all captured soldiers. After that it provides parcels, “care packages,” etc. This makes it a lot more difficult to “disappear” people. The detaining power may, however, try PWs for war crimes or other offenses on the same basis that it would its own soldiers.

The Japanese had made much the same undertakings to the world before WW2 and observed none of them. For that Generals Homma and Yamashita were hanged in Tokyo.

“Friends” of the US will ask if we treated enemy soldiers as legally PWs in VN. In fact the RVN governments held all PWs.

We declined to consider captured jihadis as PWs during the GWOT arguing that they did not qualify as soldiers. I argued then and still believe that was an error on our part. pl

Many Ukrainian fighters remain in Azovstal, commander says operation going on | Reuters

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70 Responses to Russia assumes “protective” role for Azovstal PWs.

  1. Al says:

    Developing: The U.S. wants to send Ukraine anti-ship missiles to help break Russia’s Black Sea blockade that’s intensifying global food shortages. These could include Boeing’s Harpoon missile or the Naval Strike Missile produced by Raytheon and Kongsberg; the latter would be a comparatively easier lift, since it can be launched from the coast, and because Norway has ready supplies, Reuters reported Thursday.

    • Leith says:

      Harpoons won’t help with the six (or seven?) Kilo class subs in the Black Sea. Does the Naval Strike Missile have an ASW option? Better option is maybe aerial dropped ASW torpedos. They need Turkish Navy UAVs – Aksungur or the Anka-S.

      • joe90 says:

        Dropping torpedoes randomly is not how ASW works, you will need specialised aircraft which will be shot down. Anyway the Ukrainians mined the harbours so no cargo ship are going there until the Russians clear them out.

        • Leith says:

          Joe 90 –

          Russians are not going to demine the harbors. Putin is happy blackmailing the world with hunger as he thinks it will get him sanctions relief.

          Random drop? No way. The Kilos are not so silent that they can’t be targeted, despite Putin’s hype and sales pitch.

          • Fred says:


            “…blackmailing the world with hunger…”

            Sri Lanka’s pending famine was completely self induced.

          • Fred says:


            “The fiasco of the Gallipoli campaign of 1915 was caused, in part, by a global food crisis”

            For the love of …; well let’s just say that’s the damnedest line to start an article I’ve seen in a long time. Sadly not having an economist account and not having interest in one I’ll leave off my reading at the first three paragraphs. Though in reply to the authors I will say “He kept us out of war!” Until he got re-elected, then he got us into one we never needed to enter. Wilson got a lot of Americans killed in it, too. By its end he was a zombie being wheeled about like Biden appears to be now.

            Sri Lanka will still have a famine that is caused by it’s own government’s policies, not the Russian-Ukraine war. Zimbabwe did the same damn thing not that long ago. Somolia, which we are entering yet again, too. But by all means, have the USN enter the Black Sea, destroy the Russian Federation’s navy and air forces there, and open the sea lanes from Ukraine. For the starving people of Earth, of course.

            I prefer an honest declaration of war than a neocon expansion of a not very covert entry into one. The uniparty has a solid majority in the house right now, so they should get on with it while they still can.

          • joe90 says:

            And how will the kilos be targeted? Not by the Ukrainian navy. Which Black sea navy/s were you thinking off? Georgia´s?

      • jim ticehurst says:

        Didnt they report all six or seven Russian Subs Left The Black Sea orts about four days or a week ago..?? Where To..? How long to Build or Resupply Cruise Missles,,? And Return..

        Now that The Mariople Stage is Complete…Other Objectives..Long Stated Should be Next…That Would Be Odessa..Once All Ports are Under Russian Control..Whats ..The Check Mate Move Going to Be..Does Russia Bring The Chinese Back into Port..? They had a very good relationship With Zelinsky and Many Ukranian Partners..
        Would anyone Dare Attack or Kill Unarmed Chinese “Civilians,,

        • Leith says:

          JT –

          At one time there were seven subs in the Black Sea Fleet. Not sure how many are left. Four operational has been mentioned on twitter. If the others are in the Med, Turkey will probably let them back into the Black Sea due to the right-of-return clause in the Montreux Convention.

    • Fred says:

      Are we going to cover all marine insurance costs of everything getting shipped ? Of course nothing is moving:

      The Romanians don’t seem to be having that problem:

      And it isn’t ship borne missles being used to strike Odessa (most of those sank with the Moskva) according to this ten day old article.

      Which minesweepers are going to be used to clear a path? NATO ally Turkey’s or are they going to let some other ‘non-beligerent’ who is providing that ‘covert’ aid to Ukraine go through the Bosporus?

      • Leith says:

        Fred –

        Kalibr land attack missiles launching from Kilo Class subs have been hitting Odessa and Mykolyiv (sp?).

        • joe90 says:

          They can be air and land lunched as well.

        • Fred says:


          You mean sinking the Moskva didn’t solve Ukraine’s problems? My my will wonders never cease.

          Three weeks ago it was Onyx missles.

          Before that it was air launched missles.

          Have both those capabilities been taken away?

          I’m reliably informed here that the railroads are working. Move the exports by rail to Romania or Moldova and ship it out from there. Or is the former untrue, or the later not able to be done for some other reason. It can’t be the increased marginal cost of the freight.

          • TTG says:


            They use what they have as their PGM inventories dwindle. I’m sure they’re pacing themselves as this is most likely going to be a long, long conflict. Their hypersonic missiles have also been rather disappointing.

            The head rail guy said that he’s working on replacing the blocked shipping with rail transport through the Beskyd railroad tunnel and on to southern European ports. There’s also a pick up in the use of Danube ports for such shipments, though it’s not near enough.

          • Leith says:

            Fred –

            Moldova is landlocked. Plus the rail tracks are not compatible widths. So to get to Romanian ports by rail there are two breaks-in-gauge.

          • TTG says:

            Leith and Fred,

            The Beskyd railroad tunnel carried a dual electrified line to Chop in Hungary and links to a major European route. Before the war, it was to handle 60% of Ukraine-Europe rail cargo.

          • Fred says:


            Then there should be little need of destroying Russian’s navy to allow grain exports.

          • Pat Lang says:

            Your logic escapes me. You think the Russians will shrink from the threat?

          • Fred says:


            It seems to me that the Russians are not blockading Romania’s ports or shipping using them. Russia isn’t going to be detered by Ukraine’s navy efforts and probably not by their continued success in sinking Russian ships. I doubt that the Russians want to expand the naval theatre of the war into direct action against Romania. The risk the Russians face is the loss of their own shipping that is being used to supply their forces in the coastal regions of Ukraine.

        • Fred says:


          Thanks for pointing out my error. How about Romania, which I linked to above?

          • TTG says:


            Romania has already opened her ports to Ukraine and lowered port tariffs. The first shipment of Ukrainian corn left Constanta a month ago in a panamax vessel.

  2. Pat lang says:

    Harpoon is a golden oldy

  3. d74 says:

    Life is good for some:
    ICRC will have the opportunity to go on a relaxing sightseeing trip to Siberia. They will be able to follow in the footsteps of Vladimir Arséniev and see the Amur tigers. Or do archaeology in the ruins of the camps in the Great North. Kolyma is sumptuous, it seems. Mild weather, 12 months of winter. Very healthy, even bacteria and viruses do not survive.

  4. plantman says:

    If there are Nazis among the captured, they should get the same treatment as the Nazis that were tried at Nuremberg.

    And hopefully they will face that same harsh justice.

    • Lars says:

      To compare accused Ukrainian Nazis in 2022 with the ones from the 1940’s show some serious lack of historical knowledge. It appears that it is Russia that are committing comparable war crimes and hopefully they will face justice.

    • Mike G says:

      Define “Nazi”. You should not try someone for being Nazi. You can try them for specific war crimes, or crimes against humanity. But you should not try them for an attributed identity.

      If the Azov defenders have committed war crimes, they should be tried by a recognised neutral international court, not an individual government that sets itself up as prosecution, judge and jury, and prejudicially defines the accused as “Nazis”.

      The armed forces of that individual government may themselves be perpetrators of war crimes. Perhaps they too should be tried. Bucha?

      • joe90 says:

        We seem to have moved to stage 3 of the 5 stages of grief over the the neo-Nazis.

        • joe90 says:

          There are 100’s of articles from the Western press going into detail about the Azov Battalion (really at least brigade sized) being neo-nazies, or you could just use MS Bing image search and type “Azov battalion swastika”.

          • TTG says:


            Only one infantry battalion of the Azov Regiment was among the defenders of Mariupol. The Azov of 2014-2016 is not the Azov of 2022. The second Azov infantry battalion of the Azov Regiment took part in the defense of Kyiv. The 225th reconnaissance battalion and the 226th reconnaissance-sabotage battalion, both former Azov units, are now part of the 127th Brigade of the Territorial Defense Forces. That brigade was active in the defense of Kharkiv and the counterattacks driving the Russians back from Kharkiv. It was elements of the 227th battalion that was filmed reaching the Russian border on 15 May.

          • Fred says:


            “The Azov of 2014-2016 is not the Azov of 2022.”

            What happened to all those men? How many changed thier beliefs during that 8-10 years?

          • TTG says:


            Some died. Some grew up and moved on. Both the government in Kyiv and the Azov leadership made concerted efforts to weed out the worst of the fanatics.

          • Fred says:


            “some” and “weed out the worst”

            LOL not long ago you were talking about how they were incorporated into the Ukrainian armed forces. Now they are just civilians somewhere

  5. Pat Lang says:

    plantmn You don’t know s–t about them except thru Russian IO. Maybe you ae one.

  6. plantman says:

    Yeah, and maybe you’re a Biden bot since you never veer from his Ukraine policy

    • Pat Lang says:

      His one and only policy that I agree with.

    • Leith says:

      Plantman –

      It’s apparently a policy also agreed with by Senator McConnell and the majority of GOP Senators and House Representatives.

      • powderfinger1 says:

        That still doesn’t make it right. Most of them never met a war they didn’t like. $40 billion can go a long way to fixing some of our own problems. Everybody gets paid and the American people get screwed. Ukraine could teach Chicago lessons in corruption. Screw them, all of them.

  7. Klapper says:

    The Azovstal surrender seems to be triggering some eastern front AFU units to surrender too. Momentum is a thing not just in sports.

  8. Harry says:

    “We declined to consider captured jihadis as PWs during the GWOT arguing that they did not qualify as soldiers. I argued then and still believe that was an error on our part. pl”

    Very sensible sir. The Russians will use every precedent that the US has already set in justifying the policy they choose to set.

  9. Barbara Ann says:

    All this talk of Nazis. I was reading up on the Doctors’ Trial the other day (the part of the Nuremberg tribunals concerned with medical experiments on prisoners, forced sterilization/euthanasia etc). These mostly SS guys were the real deal and any use of the term “Nazi” these days seems to me to cheapen the truly monstrous evil these folk perpetrated in order to pursue their eugenicist Nietzscherian fantasies, or in some cases just to get ahead. If Russia has evidence of genuine war crimes then may justice be done. If not, the captives should be treated as regular PoW’s.

    Hannah Arendt was right. Evil is not spectacular barbarism – the beheadings & so forth that our morbid voyeurism finds so titillating – that is all too human. True evil is an inhuman quality. The total lack of empathy of the bureaucrat who condemns the masses to pain and misery as if they were merely an inert commodity. These people are not to be found in the Avozstal steel works, they wear suits and deliver glossy Powerpoint presentations. We must never give them the opportunity to have power over us.

    • Leith says:

      Barbara Ann –

      Mengele and the other SS doctors were amateurs compared to Shiro Ishii, Masaji Kitano, and Unit 731. Vivisection, amputations without anesthesia, testing of biological weapons, horse blood transfusions, frostbite exposure, plague and pathogens experiments.

      Yet those “doctors” skated. Never faced a trial tanks to Fort Detrick.

    • Fred says:

      Barbara Ann,

      “The total lack of empathy of the bureaucrat who condemns the masses to pain and misery as if they were merely an inert commodity.”

      The WHO is organizing a wonderful cover story with the ‘pandemic’ treaty revisions which will serve as a vote to justify everything that was done over the past two years.

      “We must never give them the opportunity to have power over us.”

      Is Fauci still a government employee? Has Governor Cuomo been charged yet? How about Whitmer?

      • Barbara Ann says:


        The forthcoming WHO pandemic treaty was exactly what got me reading about public health doctrine under the Third Reich. I’ve seen it argued that the pandemic treaty is the vehicle which the global oligarchy will attempt to use to usher in the NWO and world government and/or the WEF’s Great Reset. Shame Trump’s decision to exit Bill Gates’ pet NGO never got enacted. The Russian parliament is considering it. An article on the subject if you are interested:

  10. JK/AR says:

    Umm. What in the heck is going on?

    Why just mere days ago I read, somewhere – forget where exactly but at that time the authoritative voices were saying something like, “Together the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Chief Intelligence Office of the Ministry of Defense, Border Control Service, the National Guard of Ukraine began the rescue operation of the defenders of Mariupol from Azovstal steelmill” ?

    So which is it – did the National Guard of Ukraine rescue the defenders or did something other than “a rescue” by friendly forces happen?

    I admit there were some few days this week I had to devote to Court and so was unable to follow the narrative as I’d hoped to do.

    Thanks in advance for any and all clarification.

    • TTG says:


      The Ukrainian government announcement was full of euphemisms for a surrender of the Azovstal defenders ordered/authorized by the MOD. The statement talked of a quick prisoner exchange. That may happen, but I doubt it will be quick and it certainly isn’t guaranteed. The ICRC was inserted into the process which was a major accomplishment. All that is what Kyiv called a rescue. The situation is still better than the wounded dying from lack of proper treatment and the rest of the defenders dying from starvation, gas or some other death.

      • JK/AR says:

        Again, Thanks TTG. Succinct as always.

        One, slight single clarification would be helpful however – where the type states, “All that is what Kyiv called a rescue”?

        So. Joe and Kyiv shares the same teleprompter typographers?

        Makes sense if they do in a weird sort of way – $40B can really only go so far. Gives me a warm feeling DC is shepherding taxpayers’ monies so carefully.

        Wouldn’t want Ukraine’s petrol costs to go up so precipitously as Arkansas’ has.

        • TTG says:


          The MOD statement called it a rescue operation. Ordering the defenders to stop fighting and surrender does rescue them from the near certainty of slow and lingering deaths, but it’s not what we normally call a rescue. Perhaps there’s some subtle difference in the translation.

      • Worth Pointing Out says:

        “The ICRC was inserted into the process which was a major accomplishment.”

        A bit presumptuous, isn’t it?

        For all you or I know the ICRC put out feelers to the Russians and the Russians immediately said “But of course! We will insist that you are present!”

        AFAIK there has been zero statements from the ICRC that the Russians have shown any reluctance towards the activities of the Red Cross.

        Do you know of any?

        • TTG says:

          Everything I read said the ICRC is doing its job. All POWs have been registered as POWs. That goes a long way in guaranteeing their fair treatment with the Russian pundits and politicians clamoring for the execution of the Azovstal defenders. I’m sure the Russian MOD had no intention of doing anything that draconian and stupid.

          • Worth Pointing Out says:

            So, maybe I’m a bit slow on the uptake, but I am still mystified as to who is owed the kudos for that “major accomplishment”.

            Your last statement suggests that everyone is doing their job: the ICRC is turning up to tally/document the prisoners, and the Russians are not impeding them in that task.

            It’s a funny ol’ world where everyone doing their job is a “major accomplishment”.

          • TTG says:


            “As per its mandate given by the Third Geneva Convention, and in agreement with all parties, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is visiting prisoners of war (POWs) on all sides of the international armed conflict in Ukraine.”

            Judging by the ICRC statement from the TASS article, your claim is either a complete failure to comprehend what you read or a deliberate, bold faced lie.

          • fredw says:


            It’s a funny ol’ world where everyone doing their job is a “major accomplishment”.

            Yeah, but it’s the world I have spent my whole life in. Where are you from?

            No, seriously. Just getting things done reasonably close to “standard” requires a commitment of leadership attention that usually misses some aspect of the operation. Resources and competence usually fall short somewhere. Opportunities for dishonesty or plain malicious evil are everywhere.

            So yes. Give credit where credit is due. They are getting it right. And yes, I will include the Russians who so far seem to be playing it straight.

          • KMD says:

            GENEVA, May 20. /TASS/. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has pledged to continue its efforts to gain access to all people held captive in Ukraine, the ICRC Geneva office said in a press statement on Friday.
            “These visits help ensure respect for their life and dignity by reminding the detaining authorities that the captives’ treatment and their conditions of internment or detention must correspond to standards laid down by IHL,” the ICRC said, adding that it would continue its “bilateral dialogue with unabated determination to gain access to all people held captive.”.

            That reads like the ICRC are still trying to get access to POWs. No problems with reading comprehension on my part.

          • TTG says:


            “The ICRC is visiting POWs on all sides of the international armed conflict in Ukraine.”

            That is in the ICRC statement. It’s pretty damned clear. Everything else in that ICRC statement says that they intend to continue doing their job. Granted TASS is trying to minimize that central fact of the ICRC statement and you swallowed the hook.

          • Worth Pointing Out says:

            fredw, that is my very point: including the phrase “The ICRC was inserted into the process which was a major accomplishment” is extremely prejudicial.

            It implies that a party to this conflict had to be dragged kicking and screaming to do the right thing, and I don’t think either of us need three guesses as to the party that TTG had in mind.

            Yet there is no evidence whatsoever that the ICRC has been impeded in any way, or that its presence in Mariupol was unwelcome or unwanted.

            The sledgehammer propaganda is obvious, and is easy to dismiss. The casual backhanders are what slip through, and that’s one of them.

    • James says:


      The corporate news media cannot be trusted but there is a new generation of independent journalists like Kim Iversen who are committed to telling the truth. Here she calls out the MSM on their dishonest reporting on Ukraine:

      … but she has been just as critical of the corporate media for their poor reporting on Covid and the Hunter Biden laptop. I for one have vowed to watch less CNN and more Kim Iversen.

  11. walrus says:

    Now let’s see……

    When is Russia going to give those Azov creeps a good waterboarding?

    • Pat Lang says:

      As a former soldier you ought to know that such behavior is forbidden under international law. It was forbidden when we did it to jihadis in the GWOT and it was a moral crime when we invented it in the US-Filipino War.

  12. Terry wando says:

    Talk about the NATO folks left in the “pit” ….. and the baggage left behind

  13. mcohen says:

    A summary of the situation

    Twisted up in blue
    Twisted i tell you
    Around her little finger
    Go figure

    Follows her around like a lovesick puppy
    All soft and yuppy
    No bark no bite
    Gave up the fight

    I said come for a drink
    With a nod and a wink
    I can’t he said
    With a trembling dread

    Well I was gob smacked
    Ex marine special forces trained
    Tough as a nail
    Had gone somewhat pale

    I went on the attack
    I read him riot act
    He just shook his head
    Going for a manicure he said.

  14. Dolores O´Neil says:

    Yes, we know the terms of the Geneva Convention on POWS, but you never claimed for this to be put i nforce when the nazi battallions tortured seriously injured Russian POWS with a plastic bag in their head, and then finished them, while some who were not ibnjured werre being shot in their kneews once they stepped down a bus who brought them to the extermination site.

    On top of that the nazis filmed all this and published it in their social networks.

    Then it is the guys telephoning the mothers of Russian POWS to tell them they had been beheaded.

    Neither of you here denounced that, nor called for the IRCC to be present there and for the Geneva Convention to be respected.

    There are nazi battallions members who have serious crime charges on them as the case of the Tornado´s who Zelensky liberated on the verge of the Russian SMO…

    • Pat Lang says:

      Dolores O’Neill

      “you never claimed for this to be put i nforce when the nazi battallions tortured seriously injured Russian POWS with a plastic bag in their head, and then finished them, while some who were not ibnjured werre being shot in their kneews once they stepped down a bus who brought them to the extermination site.” Provide me with links to your proof.

      • Dolores O´Neil says:

        I will find it difficult to find the images circulating on Telegram sme weeks ago now, but will try it.

        You have probably better access to those images than me, probably your former author Larry Johnoson have them in his blog.
        We have watched them here in Europe and find it outrageous that our governmetns support these criminals with our taxes who moreover are self-confessed nazis, while impossing astronomical energy bills on us half of which are taxes.

        This has been provided by the Russian government to the OSCE and UN.

      • Dolores O´Neil says:

        Here you have a testimony…while I find the images proper…

        I hope you do not report your Sillicon Valley and new Minister of Truth for the images to be erased….

      • Dolores O´Neil says:

        The thing is that those images can not be totally posted, since they will be banned, as you probably know…
        Here Ukrainian POW reacting ot Russian POWs being tortured alive to death…

        • Dolores O´Neil says:

          I foud them, these are the images ( amongst others of tortured Russian POWs where those coming out of a bus bringing them safe to the site of torture were shot in their knees )which were shown to the Ukrainian POW which he could not bear watching…In the distance what you hear is a mechanical shaw…

      • jld says:

        There is “better” than a plastic bag, though it was scheduled to be prosecuted by the Ukrainians.

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