Home News Lack of trust between both sides is ‘biggest problem in rescuing civilians’

Lack of trust between both sides is ‘biggest problem in rescuing civilians’

by naijarex

“The best way to stop the threat of another Mariupol is more far-reaching political conversations on peace and ceasefire negotiations,” the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Peter Maurer told the BBC on a visit to Kyiv.

Asked about the ICRC’s description of conditions in the besieged southern port city as “apocalyptic”, Maurer said it was “important to recognise this wasn’t only the ICRC’s voice, but the voice of so many civilians trapped in the city”.

He said the lack of trust between the warring sides was “the biggest problem” in rescuing civilians stuck between front lines.

Maurer, who has been in close contact with senior Ukrainian and Russian officials, said more people were now escaping through agreed humanitarian corridors.

But he said Mariupol, a key target for Russian forces advancing on Ukraine’s southern coast, was more difficult “in military strategy and political significance”. However, even there, he said some civilians were now managing to get out.

Maurer also pointed to another major worry which has brought the head of the ICRC, the guardian of the rules governing war, to Ukraine: “Respect for international humanitarian law and the obligations under the Geneva Conventions with regards to prisoners of war, dead soldiers, missing and detained civilians.”

The ICRC’s special role is founded on confidential dialogue with warring sides.

Asked about accusations that Russia was targeting civilian infrastructure, Maurer replied that “basic principles of proportionality and precaution which inform the conduct of hostilities, and the Geneva Conventions, are interpreted in very different ways which is why we try to establish minimal agreement on what we mean by these words”.

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