Urgent humanitarian needs, prisoners of war top agenda for President Spoljaric’s first visit to Moscow

Geneva (ICRC) - ICRC President Mirjana Spoljaric is visiting Moscow this week to discuss urgent humanitarian concerns with government officials and the Russian Red Cross.
News release 18 January 2023 Russia Ukraine

The 2-day visit follows President Spoljaric’s mission to Ukraine last month, where she met with government officials, the Ukrainian Red Cross Society, associations of families of prisoners of war and interned civilians, and communities that are suffering from the international armed conflict.

A critical priority for President Spoljaric is to ensure that prisoners of war on both sides receive regular visits from the ICRC and are treated humanely in line with international humanitarian law. The ICRC has been visiting prisoners of war on both sides, but is urgently seeking full, unimpeded, and regular access to all, wherever they are held. These visits enable ICRC teams to monitor conditions of detention and treatment of the prisoners, share much-awaited news with their families and provide items such as blankets, warm clothes, personal hygiene items, and books.

The ICRC also stands ready to play a neutral intermediary role for the exchange of prisoners and for any other humanitarian initiative, at the request of the parties.

Consistent engagement all over the world with parties to an armed conflict through confidential dialogue is an essential tool through which we advocate for greater adherence to states’ obligations to uphold the Geneva Conventions, which lay out the rules of armed conflict.

During the visit, President Spoljaric will also discuss other contexts of humanitarian concern including Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Syria, and the Sahel region.

Note to editors and producers:

  1. Established in 1863, the ICRC operates worldwide, helping people affected by conflict and armed violence and promoting the laws that protect victims of war. A neutral, independent and impartial organization, its mandate stems from the Geneva Conventions of 1949. it is based in Geneva, Switzerland, and works in more than 100 countries.
  2. The ICRC has been working in Ukraine since 2014 with a team of over 600 staff members. Working closely with the Ukrainian Red Cross Society and our Red Cross Red Crescent Movement partners, we are increasing our response to the vast and growing humanitarian needs in Ukraine.


For more information, please contact:

Jennifer Sparks, ICRC Geneva (English) jsparks@icrc.org, +41 79 217 3200
Galina Balzamova, ICRC Moscow (English, Russian) gbalzamova@icrc.org, +7 903 545 35 34
Achille Després, ICRC Kyiv (English, French, Italian), adespres@icrc.org, +380 50 324 31 80
Oleksandr Vlasenko, ICRC Kyiv (English, Ukrainian) ovlasenko@icrc.org, +380 503 484 743