Ukraine releases list of missing soldiers in Afghan war
ISLAMABAD (NNI): The former Soviet republic of Ukraine has released names of its 72 soldiers who went missing in Afghanistan during the Soviet invasion between 1979 and 1988.
Names of the missing soldiers appeared on Sunday in Peshawar-based Pashto papers, which are largely read in Afghanistan as well as by Afghan refugees in Frontier province.
"More than ten years have passed since the withdrawal of the former Soviet troops from Afghanistan but our countrymen, who participated in the fighting, have not yet returned to their motherland", Ukrainian charge d' affaires, reads the appeal, launched by V.S Ponomarenko.
The Soviet Union, of which Ukraine was a republic until 1991, had also handed over to Pakistan a list of 311 of its soldiers, who had gone missing in Afghanistan during the war between Soviet troops and Afghan Mujahideen. Pakistani officials deny there are any former Soviet MIAs (Missing in Action) in Pakistan but do not rule out the possibility that some of them may still be living in Afghanistan.
A Ukrainian delegation would visit Pakistan early next month to hold talks with Pakistani officials and sign a protocol of cooperation on humanitarian issues including seeking Islamabad's help to trace its MIAs in Afghanistan.
Some 1.5 million Afghans were killed in fighting with the then Soviet red army while another 3 millions migrated to other countries, majority to Pakistan and Iran.
"No one has so far told us as to why our soldiers fought the war," said Ponomarenko in his appeal, adding, "Parents of the missing soldiers have been waiting for their sons, with hopes that they will return to their homes."
He said that those Ukrainians, who willingly want not to return to their homes, would be allowed to stay anywhere and make decision about their future. He appealed to all those who have any information about the missing soldiers to inform the Ukrainian embassy in Islamabad through phone number 274643 or fax number 274732.
Mr. Ponomarenko, who visited Peshawar earlier this month, met Pakistani officials of the Afghan Refugees Commissionerate to explore the possibility of tracing 72 Ukrainian soldiers.
Two Ukrainian soldiers who had fought in Afghanistan but went missing had been able to contact their parents. One of them, Varidov who had since converted to Islam, had gone to Kiev to meet his parents but returned later to resettle in Afghanistan. Varadov has raised his family and is still believed to be in Afghanistan. Another Ukrainian soldier returned to Ukraine and lives there with his family.
|Back to News Archirves of 2000|
Disclaimer: This news site is mostly a compilation of publicly accessible articles on the Web in the form of a link or saved news item. The news articles and commentaries/editorials are protected under international copyright laws. All credit goes to the original respective source(s).