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Russian and Ukrainian activists set up a commission to help peaceful civilians in Ukraine

MOSCOW, June 14. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian and Ukrainian human rights activists have signed an appeal for creation of a joint mission, Russian human rights activist Lev Ponomaryov told Itar-Tass on Friday.

“Human rights activists in Ukraine and Russia have announced the creation of a joint human rights mission with an aim to preserve the life, health and safety of civilians who are trapped in the territories of military hostilities in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions of Ukraine,” the joint statement says.

Ponomaryov noted that the priority task of the human rights mission would be to seek the release of forcibly withheld persons and ensure the safe exit for civilians who want to leave the military conflict zone.

The mission has urged the parties in conflict to immediately and unconditionally release all illegally withheld civilians who did not take part in military hostilities though their overall number in unknown. According to the human rights mission, many of the forcibly withheld civilians are being tortured.

The appeal also contains a call to ensure a safe exist from the areas of military conflict for peaceful civilians.

Ponomaryov said that the human rights ombudsmen of Russia and Ukraine had agreed to support the mission’s activities within the framework of their mandates.

"We can say that the mission started its work since the moment the appeal was signed,” he stressed.

For his part, Andrei Yurov, the head of commission set up under the Presidential Council for Development of Civil Society and Human Rights, told Itar-Tass that the mission would consist of approximately 10-15 people.