Hundreds of Thousands of Ukrainians Forced into Russia, US Says
It involves Ukrainians voluntarily fleeing war in their home country and those forcibly moved to Russia passing through a series of ‘screening points’ where processing ranges from interrogations, data collection and searches naked to be discarded, tortured, sent to a detention center in Russia and never seen again.
US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said estimates from various sources, including the Russian government, indicate that Russian authorities interrogated, detained and forcibly deported between 900,000 and 1.6 million Ukrainians. She said they are sent to Russia, often to isolated areas of its Far Eastern regions.
“These operations are aimed at identifying individuals whom Russia deems insufficiently compliant or compatible with its control,” Thomas-Greenfield said. “And there is mounting credible evidence that people seen as threatening Russian control because of perceived pro-Ukrainian leanings are ‘disappearing’ or being re-detained.”
The Russian Presidency not only coordinates screening operations, but also provides lists of Ukrainians to be targeted for screening, she added.
She said estimates indicate thousands of children were screened, “some separated from their families and removed from orphanages before being put up for adoption in Russia.” According to US reports, “more than 1,800 children were transferred from Russian-controlled areas of Ukraine to Russia” in July alone, she said.
Russia’s UN ambassador Vassily Nebenzia accused the West of trying to smear his country.
He said more than 3.7 million Ukrainians, including 600,000 children, have traveled to Russia or Russian-controlled separatist areas in eastern Ukraine, but they “are not detained in prisons”.
“They live freely and voluntarily in Russia, and no one prevents them from moving or leaving the country,” he said.
Nebenzia said these Ukrainians followed “a registration rather than screening procedure” similar to that of Ukrainian refugees in Poland and other European Union countries.
He said that since “we wasted time talking about the latest conjectures and fantasies” on Wednesday, Russia proposes that the Security Council hold a meeting on Thursday “on the real threats to international peace and security caused by the supply by foreign states of weapons and military goods to Ukraine.
French Ambassador Nicolas De Rivière, the current chairman of the council, has scheduled the meeting for Thursday afternoon.