Ukraine Police launches hotline to help search for people missing in war

The hotline was developed as the Russian military continues to hit civilian targets.

 People walk their bikes across the street as smoke rises above a plant of Azovstal Iron and Steel Works during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine May 2, 2022.  (photo credit: REUTERS/ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO)
People walk their bikes across the street as smoke rises above a plant of Azovstal Iron and Steel Works during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine May 2, 2022.
(photo credit: REUTERS/ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO)

Ukraine’s National Police has launched a hotline to help people search for friends or relatives who are missing or are feared to have been killed amid the Ukraine-Russia war, Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry has announced.

The hotline was developed as the Russian military continues to hit civilian targets. For example, the city of Bucha was littered with civilian corpses when Ukrainian forces retook the city in early April – in what many people worldwide have called a massacre.

The city of Mariupol has also been the subject of intense Russian attacks since the onset of the war. In a rare move, Pope Francis – who typically does not get involved in international affairs or politics – criticized Russia on Monday, saying that Mariupol had been “barbarously bombarded and destroyed.”

This is not the first time mobile phones have been used as a means of official communication since the war began. Government organizations, media, militias and other groups have taken to mobile apps such as Telegram to inform and mobilize followers, while the Ukrainian government launched an SMS campaign to educate Ukrainians about the danger of land mines.

 A funeral service employee looks at bodies of civilians, collected from streets to local cemetery, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in the town of Bucha, outside Kyiv, Ukraine April 6, 2022.  (credit: Oleg Pereverzev/Reuters) A funeral service employee looks at bodies of civilians, collected from streets to local cemetery, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in the town of Bucha, outside Kyiv, Ukraine April 6, 2022. (credit: Oleg Pereverzev/Reuters)
Over 3,000 civilians have been killed in Ukraine since Russia invaded the country on February 24 the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said in a statement Monday. The UN says that as of May 3 more than 5.6 million Ukrainians have become refugees.