Azov Regiment leader Denys Prokopenko, who fought for the southern port city of Mariupol, has probably been taken to Russia, his wife, Kateryna Prokopenko, said in an interview with Ukrainian public broadcaster Suspilne on Aug. 13.
The woman said that she had found out about her husband’s whereabouts through the Russian mass media. However, due to the fact that the information is not officially provided, it is “difficult for her to confirm anything.”
“I only know that he was taken to Russia, and in general, this has not yet been confirmed,” she said.
“I found out about Denys’s whereabouts through the Russian mass media. State structures do not finally confirm this to me, because it’s difficult to confirm anything here. I understand, Russia has now hidden the (Azov) command staff, and is hiding other soldiers and officers without disclosing their whereabouts. We’re waiting to see what happens next.”
Kateryna also criticized the work of the Red Cross, which was supposed to provide information about the prisoners and under whose guarantee the defenders of Mariupol surrendered in May.
“In fact, it’s the Red Cross’s job to answer me, but I still don’t know where my husband is,” she said.
“Even if he’s in Russia, in principle, there’s communication with the Moscow branch of the Red Cross. But there’s none. This means that there is perhaps some kind of agreement with the Russian authorities not to disclose information about whereabouts, etc.”
According to Kateryna, there were cases when the Red Cross had called relatives and told them that their sons had been in Olenivka or Novoazovsk. At the same time, the organization did not give answers regarding the health, food, conditions of detention, torture, and medical care of the prisoners, although they should have done so.
“Why were there no representatives in Olenivka (prison colony) who would have seen that these people who were relocated to that terrible barracks were missing from the lists in the barracks? Why didn’t they observe that grave pits were being dug on the outskirts of Olenivka?” Kateryna said.
“To verify the lists of dead and injured in Olenivka, which Russia provided, it’s necessary that some independent expert team come, which doesn’t exist. As we thought, it should come from the Red Cross or the United Nations, but there’s none, so there is no belief in these lists.”
“While communicating with prisoners of war who were swapped, no matter who you ask, no one has ever seen the Red Cross, only at the exit from the Azovstal steelworks,” Kateryna added.
Russian media outlets reported in June that Azov Regiment’s leaders captured in Mariupol had been transferred to Moscow’s Lefortovo detention center, which is unofficially subordinated to Russia’s FSB. The names of the servicemen were not disclosed.