How to find a person who disappeared during the war?  Meduza's instruction, which, unfortunately, will be even more needed due to mobilization


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If you are looking for a person who lived in Ukraine and disappeared on its territory

Activists and Ukrainian authorities in instructions and memos recommend first contacting neighbors, friends and relatives of the missing person, who may know where he is.

All the information that you receive must be written down so as not to confuse or forget anything. Later, when you turn to volunteers and government organizations for help, it will help.

The next step could be database searchand only then does it make sense to file an application so that various organizations and associations publish information about the missing person or start searching on their own.

To search, please contact:

  • to local chatswhere volunteers are also active – they can search on the spot;
  • to the Ukrainian authorities. The official resource is Ukrainian National Information Bureau, created specifically for finding people. The hotline phone is 1648 and +38 (044) 287-81-65 (for calls from abroad). You can also write to [email protected] On the home page site in the “Important” (“Important”) section, you can find instructions for searching for children and adults (including the military, if you cannot contact them or know that a person has been captured).

Also you can apply to the Ukrainian police with a statement about the disappearance of a relative. If the missing person has parents or children and they are blood relatives, they can take a DNA sample at the discretion of the investigator. This will help if the person has died and forensic experts cannot identify him in other ways.

When you declare a search for a person, it is best if possible indicate:

  • his full name
  • date of birth
  • contacts
  • special signs
  • last known location
  • last contact date and contact method

If this is a Ukrainian military man, then the country’s authorities recommend reporting:

  • surname, name and patronymic
  • date of birth
  • Contact details
  • military unit or service unit
  • position and rank
  • military ID or badge number
  • special signs
  • last known location

If a person is in the occupied territories, you can contact the official hotlines and search databases of local authorities (for example, the Ministry of Health of the self-proclaimed DPR or the Ministry of Emergency Situations) or volunteer organizations. All contacts are listed here.

For more detailed advice, you can refer to updated instruction listing a large number of ways and places where you can look for people who were in Ukraine during the hostilities (chats, groups on social networks, bases, hotlines, volunteer communities, etc.). Its short version in four languages ​​is here.

If you assume that a person ended up in Russia – as a result of “evacuation” or as a prisoner of war

Much less is written about how to search for people who lived in Ukraine and were taken to Russia in instructions popular on social networks.

In this case, the committeeCivic Assistance»recommended to contact:

  • to Commissioner for Human Rights in the Russian Federation (to search for civilians and military);
  • to the Red Cross. The press service of the Russian Red Cross (RKK), in response to a question from Meduza, advised me to contact the National Red Cross and Red Crescent Society in the country where I am looking for. In Russia, relatives of the missing civilians may contact the Russian Red Cross by phone +7 (800) 700 44 50. “All Tracing Centers of the National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies are in constant contact with each other and the Central Tracing Agency,” the RKK press service reported. If for some reason it is not possible to contact the National Society, you can contact the Central Tracing Agency ICRC on the international armed conflict in Ukraine (form on Ukrainian, Russian and English).

The answer of the press service of the Russian Red Cross about the search for people lost due to hostilities in Ukraine:

[После обращения] our specialists send applications to the Central Tracing Agency of the International Committee of the Red Cross (CAR). There, applications from all over the world are collected in a single database.

If there are matches like “I’m looking for” – “I’m looking for”, we can immediately connect people (we do the same in our own database).

Also in the Central African Republic, as it is understood where a person is, requests are sent to local specialists.

In addition, we check whether the wanted people have evacuated to Russia, for this we check the list of wanted people with the lists of those who received humanitarian assistance from the RKK. In addition, we contact the Ministry of Emergency Situations and temporary accommodation centers for refugees if the requesters cannot do this on their own. Also, if the requester cannot independently use social networks, our specialists can help them with this, provide access to the Internet. The latter is most often used at points of operational assistance to people arriving in Russia, for example, at the mobile point of the Russian Red Cross in Belgorod. There, refugees can also be provided with a telephone to contact their loved ones.

Search and rescue squad “LizaAlert” declares about what helps in the search for “immigrants from the territory of Donbass and Ukraine.” However, the press service of the detachment did not answer the question of how this search was going on for nine days.

The project helps to search for Ukrainian prisoners of war “Poshuk. Full”.

If you have found a loved one and he needs psychological help

If you have lost contact with a Russian serviceman

There are generally accepted recommendations on how to act if you do not know what happened to a Russian serviceman.

To begin with, you can try to contact fellow soldiers or their relatives, whose names are better known in advance, especially now (human rights organization “Soldiers’ Mothers of St. Petersburg” recommends find these people on social media if you don’t know their other contacts). Secretary of the Union of Committees of Soldiers’ Mothers of Russia Valentina Melnikova, in an interview with Meduza at the end of May 2022, made the following recommendations:

We recommend calling first to the hotline at the Ministry of Defense and declare that there has been no connection with the serviceman for so long, give the unit number.

If there are stories of one of the colleagues, you need to ask fellow officers record this information on the hotline.

We also ask you to see Ukrainian lists by prisoners. They are detailed and publicly available. If that didn’t workcosts write in Military Investigation Department.

In the human rights organization “Soldiers’ Mothers of St. Petersburg” recommend also contact:

Unfortunately, the truth is that All of these suggestions don’t work as well as they should.. Relatives military complain for thatthat departments do not report anything or give conflicting information. Human rights defenders also pay attention to the fact that information about prisoners of war is poorly communicated to relatives through official structures.

How relatives try to find Russian servicemen

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J. A. Allen

Author, blogger, freelance writer. Hater of spiders. Drinker of wine. Mother of hellions.

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