Since the beginning of the full-scale war, Russia has kidnapped at least 562 active citizens in Ukraine, including volunteers, educators, and journalists. Every fifth abductee is a woman. Most of the victims of enforced disappearances are in the Kherson region.

ZMINA Human Rights Center researchers presented a report on abductions and detentions of active citizens on June 28 in Kyiv. The study lasted from February 2022 to June 2023. The researchers collected data from open sources, qualitatively verifying the information according to international protocols, and interviewing family members of detainees and abductees, their friends, and possible witnesses.

“We have recorded at least 562 cases of active citizen abductions in nine regions of Ukraine. At the time of publication of this report, 311 active citizens have not yet been released or their fate is unknown. We also know that 235 people have returned home, and 16 were unfortunately found dead,” said Natalia Okhotnikova, human rights adviser at the ZMINA Human Rights Center.

According to the study, active citizens include civic activists, human rights defenders, volunteers, journalists, representatives of local governments, lawyers, educators, religious leaders and others who resisted the occupation and remained on the side of Ukraine.

The victims of abductions included both men and women, young people, children, the elderly, and people with chronic diseases. However, most abductees are men of all ages from 18 to 70+ years (451 people). Every fifth victim of enforced disappearance is a woman (110 people).

The most significant number of abductions and detentions occurred in Kherson region (at least 258 cases). Zaporizhzhia region is in second place (110 cases). And the third is Donetsk region (67 cases in the newly occupied territories of this region).

See also

  • Cases of sexual violence against children have been recorded in the occupied territories. According to the Office of the Prosecutor General, as of May 11, 2023, there were cases of sexual violence against 12 girls and one boy. The youngest age of the child victim is four years old.
  • Russian shelling affects 3198 educational institutions in Ukraine. Kharkiv region is one of the most damaged in terms of destroyed educational institutions.
  • War crimes in Kharkiv Oblast: 37 Russian servicemen notified of suspicion. Crimes committed by the military personnel of the aggressor state and representatives of Russian private military companies must not go unpunished.