Ukrainian officials say that civilians are being taken against their will to Russia.
On Sunday, the Mirror reported a claim from the Mariupol city council that thousands of civilians have been “forcibly deported” to Russia. While the number is unclear, The Washington Post reported that, so far, Ukrainian national police have filled out 9,000 missing person reports since the invasion began.
“It is just tip of the iceberg,” said Oleksandra Matviichuk, head of the Center for Civil Liberties. Meanwhile, Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boychenko likened the situation to the Nazis capturing civilians during World War II. In March, Ukraine accused Moscow of taking up 400,000 people, including 84,000 children from Ukraine.
“It is known that the captured Mariupol residents were taken to filtration camps,” the mayor stated, “where the occupiers checked people’s phones and documents. After the inspection, some Mariupol residents were redirected to remote cities in Russia; the fate of others remains unknown.
“What the occupiers are doing today is familiar to the older generation, who saw the horrific events of World War II, when the Nazis forcibly captured people.”
In most cases, according to the U.N., victims “were held incommunicado in improvised places of detention,” such as government buildings, schools, warehouses, barns and police stations. After days or weeks of detention, most of the victims were then transferred to Russia or Russian-held areas like parts of Donetsk and Luhansk, Crimea or areas maintained by Russian-affiliated militant groups before the February invasion.
Russian news organizations say buses have carried several hundred people, what Moscow calls refugees, from Mariupol to Russia recently.
Despite the claims from Ukrainian and U.N. officials, Russian officials have denied any reports of kidnappings or forced dislocations. They add that their alleged use of filtration camps is a “lie” and instead place any harm done to Ukrainian civilians on Ukrainians.