Latest news

Red Cross Chooses Not to Suspend Russian Branch Despite War Crime Allegations

The International Red Cross movement has chosen not to suspend the membership of the Russian Red Cross (RRC), despite concerns about potential breaches of neutrality regulations revealed by an investigation conducted by several international media outlets.

While the International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC) has the power to suspend members for such violations, they opted not to suspend the RRC. Instead, the IFRC created an oversight body and urged the RRC to address the allegations.

This decision drew swift criticism from Ukrainian officials, who regarded it as a weak response to serious allegations. Dmytro Lubinets, Ukraine’s human rights commissioner, characterized the IFRC’s stance as advocating for the RRC and, consequently, Russian aggression against Ukraine.

The investigation, jointly published last month by several outlets, including the Guardian, relied on leaked Kremlin documents, which reportedly showed Kremlin plans to fund RRC branches in occupied Ukraine.

Furthermore, the investigation disclosed that senior figures in RRC regional branches spoke of the necessity for war with “Ukrainian Nazis” and that uniformed Red Cross workers frequently attended military training events for children. Earlier this year, the Russian Red Cross signed a memorandum of cooperation with Artek, a youth camp in occupied Crimea, where some of the unlawfully displaced children from Ukraine have been relocated. The director of Artek, Konstantin Fedorenko, has been sanctioned by the US and the EU. Additionally, the head of the RRC Pavel Savchuk served as a board member of the All-Russian People’s Front (ONF), a Kremlin-created movement that promotes the Z symbol, emblematic of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Last year, the Belarusian Red Cross was suspended by the IFRC after it emerged that its leader had worn the Z symbol and expressed support for the abduction of Ukrainian children.

See all