Kyiv put forward the number of 1.2 million people deported by Moscow to Russia. The Ukrainian authorities also denounce the existence of Russian “filtration camps”, often in the territories controlled by Russia in eastern Ukraine, through which these “deportees” pass.
“The United States estimates that Russian forces transferred at least several thousand Ukrainians to these ‘filtration camps’, and evacuated at least tens of thousands more to Russia or Russian-controlled territories, sometimes without tell the evacuees what their final destination was,” U.S. Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Michael Carpenter said Thursday.
“If only from Mariupol”, a strategic port city now almost controlled by Russia, “we estimate that Russian forces have forcibly displaced several thousand civilians into Russian territory”, he added in a speech. delivered in Vienna, according to the transcript released by the US State Department.
The diplomat referred to testimonies on the “brutal interrogations”, accompanied by “torture”, suffered in these “filtration camps”, aimed at identifying anyone with “the slightest allegiance to Ukraine”.
“Many stories report the confiscation of detainees’ mobile phones” or even their passports, “passwords obtained under duress, social networks and messaging screened for any sign of opposition to the barbaric war being waged by Russia against Ukraine,” he said.
“According to this information, those who are deemed pro-Ukraine are transferred to the so-called + Donetsk People’s Republic +”, controlled by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, “where they face a grim fate” , further denounced Ambassador Carpenter.
“These acts constitute war crimes,” he protested. “Russia knows well” that such “forced displacements” are “contrary to international humanitarian law”, he insisted.
According to a Ukrainian government official, Lyudmila Denisova, “more than 1.19 million” Ukrainians, “including more than 200,000 children, have been deported to the Russian Federation”.