Russian soldiers abuse, abduct Ukrainians to Russia

According to the U.S. Department of State, Russia and its proxies are conducting filtration operations in Russian-controlled Ukrainian territory.  Russian military and security forces interrogates, abuses, detain and deport and sometimes even kill Ukrainians they perceive as opposed to their invasion.

Russian officials and proxy authorities in Russia-controlled areas of Ukraine are undertaking a monumental effort to “filter” the population as a means of suppressing Ukrainian resistance and enforcing loyalty among the remaining population.

On November 29, 2022, in a press briefing by experts from the Yale Humanitarian Lab to discuss findings of detentions and disappearances of 226 persons in Kherson, Ukraine, as they relate to Russia’s ongoing filtration operations, Professor Nathaniel Raymond stated that his team had documented multiple alleged violations of international law by Russia’s military and security services, in particular the Federal Security Service (FSB).  

He said the violations included violations of the Geneva Convention, Convention against Torture, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and, “most notably, where those rights are enshrined in part in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, particularly as it relates to torture; cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment; enforced disappearances; detention; threats to relatives and loved ones, including threat of torture, detention for refusal to vote in the annexation referenda; et cetera.  These violations also include alleged violations of the Rome Statute, particularly Article 7 and Article 8.”   

The Yale Humanitarian Lab’s findings were supported by the U.S. State Department.

The U.S condemns these operations of abuses, forced deportations to remote parts of Russia and disappearances in which Russia’s forces and proxies have interrogated, detained, and forcibly deported, according to a broad range of sources, between 900,000 and 1.6 million Ukrainian citizens, including thousands of unaccompanied children, which are being taken to filtration camps in a concerted effort to suppress their resistance. 

While at filtration camps, Ukrainian citizens suffered abuses including strip-search for “nationalistic” tattoos, being photographed, and have their fingerprints taken. Ukrainian citizens have had their passports confiscated and their cell phones searched, with Russia’s forces sometimes downloading their contact lists.

The U.S. has information that officials from Russia’s Presidential Administration are overseeing and coordinating filtration operations. Russia is also using advanced technology to facilitate filtration processes, including for the purposes of collecting data on Ukrainian citizens undergoing filtration.

As part of this effort, the U.S. has information that over the course of last July, more than 1,800 children were reported to have been transferred from Russia-controlled areas of Ukraine to Russia.  Once in Russia, some reports indicated that children undergo psychological “rehabilitation” and are forced to complete unspecified educational projects.

Some of these children have no identity documents or information on the location of their parents. As part of this forced deportation, plans are being developed to place orphaned Ukrainian children with foster families in Russia, in collaboration with other executive agencies in the Russian government.

Separately, as of last July, Russian officials reportedly forced prisoners in a Russia-held area of Ukraine to apply for Russian citizenship.  Prisoners who refused to apply were subjected to physical and psychological abuse.

Photo credit: Pexels/Markus Spiske

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