What’s happening in these areas? 

Across the large swathe of southern Ukraine captured since 24 February – from the Russian border to the city of Kherson near the mouth of the Dnieper River – Russian forces claim to be “liberating” the population, which is largely Russian-speaking.

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They have set up new “military-civilian” governments, with local pro-Russian politicians as figureheads, and are thought to be preparing to formally annex not just the Donbas but also the two oblasts, or provinces, of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia. There is looting: Kyiv says that Russia has stolen around 500,000 tonnes of Ukrainian wheat, worth $100m, and is shipping it abroad for sale. But the most striking and sinister feature of the occupation is that very large numbers of Ukrainians have been interned and deported. 

How many people have been affected? 

Around 1.4 million Ukrainian citizens, including 240,000 children, have been forcibly deported to Russia to date, according to Ukraine’s former commissioner for human rights, Lyudmyla Denisova. In late May, Russia’s defence minister Sergei Shoigu confirmed that 1.37 million people had been evacuated from Donbas and other parts of occupied Ukraine – at their own request, he claimed, to avoid casualties among civilians. Many of them have had to pass through “filtration camps” on the way, where they are processed. Denisova says that Russia has created an “extensive network” of filtration camps “in every occupied city”, which have processed at least 37,000 people, although some Western estimates put the figure as high as one million. 

How do the camps work? 

In the war zones where Russian forces are in control, civilians fleeing the fighting have generally been given safe passage only in one direction: towards Russia. Along the way, they are subjected to a lengthy “filtration” process in camps in southeastern Ukraine run by the FSB, the Russian intelligence agency, and manned by Russian and separatist forces. People are interrogated, and asked about their politics, their views on the Ukraine war, and their future plans. Men are stripped and checked for Ukrainian nationalist tattoos or shoulder bruises that suggest they have recently used a weapon. Papers are checked, and phones, photos, messages and social media posts are examined. There are many eyewitness accounts of beatings and torture with electric shocks. Sometimes this process takes a few hours, sometimes days, weeks or months. Those who pass can proceed …read more

Source:: The Week – All news


How Vladimir Putin’s filtration camps work

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