UNHCR seeks information on fate of disappeared asylum-seeker

Press Releases, 25 October 2012

UNHCR is concerned by the situation of Leonid Razvozzhaev, an asylum-seeker who disappeared from Kyiv last Friday, 19 October 2012, subsequently appearing in police custody in Moscow earlier this week.

During an asylum counselling session in Kyiv on 19 October, Mr. Razvozzhaev, a national of the Russian Federation, expressed his intention to apply for asylum, both verbally and in writing. As such, he is protected by international refugee law and becomes a person of concern to UNHCR. Both Ukraine and the Russian Federation are signatories of the 1951 Refugee Convention and thus are subject to a treaty obligation to protect refugees and asylum-seekers.

UNHCR is seeking clarification of Mr Razvozzhaev's current condition and status from the authorities in the Russian Federation and has also asked for access to him.

The circumstances of Mr Razvozzhaev's disappearance, which happened during a short break in a legal advice session with UNHCR 's legal partner organization in Kyiv, remain unclear. His disappearance was immediately reported to the Ukrainian police. UNHCR has requested the authorities to promptly and thoroughly investigate this incident.

UNHCR is calling on the authorities in Kyiv to immediately implement measures to ensure that people approaching UNHCR and its partners for assistance in seeking asylum are not exposed to risks to their security by doing so.


  • In Moscow: Galina Negrustueva, office +7495660859; mobile +79037217560
  • In Kyiv: Oleksandra Makovska, office +380442889710(ext116); mobile +38 050 310 1767
  • In Geneva: Andrej Mahecic, +41227398657; +41792007617



UNHCR country pages

Ukraine: Sorting through the Wreckage

Conflict has changed the city of Sloviansk in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine. "We used to have such a beautiful, calm, tidy city," says Angelina, a social worker. Today, it is full of destroyed homes and infrastructure, a casualty of the fighting between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian forces. More than half of the inhabitants - some 70,000 people - fled the city during the combat earlier this year. In recent weeks, with the city back under government control, some 15,000 have returned. But they face many challenges. Maria, aged 80, returned to a damaged home and sleeps in the kitchen with her family. She worries about getting her pension. The UN refugee agency has transported several tons of hygiene items and kitchen equipment to the city for distribution to those who lost their homes. Photojournalist Iva Zimova recently accompanied UNHCR staff as they visited more than 100 families to give put aid.

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Displacement in Georgia

Tens of thousands of civilians are living in precarious conditions, having been driven from their homes by the crisis in the breakaway Georgian region of South Ossetia.

On the morning of August 12, the first UNHCR-chartered plane carrying emergency aid arrived in the Georgian capital Tbilisi, the first UN assistance to arrive in the country since fighting broke out the previous week. The airlift brought in 34 tonnes of tents, jerry cans, blankets and kitchen sets from UNHCR's central emergency stockpile in Dubai. Items were then loaded onto trucks at the Tbilisi airport for transport and distribution.

A second UNHCR flight landed in Tbilisi on August 14, with a third one expected to arrive the following day. In addition, two UNHCR aid flights are scheduled to leave for Vladikavkaz in the Russian Federation the following week with mattresses, water tanks and other supplies for displaced South Ossetians.

Working with local partners, UNHCR is now providing assistance to the most vulnerable and needy. These include many young children and family members separated from one another. The situation is evolving rapidly and the refugee agency is monitoring the needs of the newly displaced population, which numbered some 115,000 on August 14.

Posted on 15 August 2008

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