London: Russia has been accused of deporting Ukrainians to “filtration” centres before forcibly taking them to remote Siberian towns after confiscating their phones and documents, Daily Mail reported.
‘Several thousand’ people have so-far been taken, Mariupol city council claimed, before being processed through ‘filtration camps’ and sent to ‘remote cities’ in Russia where they will be obliged to stay for years and work for free, the report said.
Russian news agencies have reported that buses carrying hundreds of refugees from the besieged southeastern port city Mariupol had arrived in Russia in recent days. Moscow officials also said a trainload of over 280 Ukrainians were being ‘rescued’ from Mariupol, showing footage of them thanking Russian forces.
Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boichenko likened the alleged forced deportations to transportation of prisoners by the Nazi regime during World War II. Boichenko said: “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. It is hard to imagine that in the 21st century people can be forcibly taken to another country,” Daily Mail reported.
Mariupol is in the throes of a humanitarian emergency after being encircled by Russian troops, cut off from energy, food and water supplies and facing a relentless bombardment.
Russian Colonel-General Mikhail Mizintsev late on Sunday demanded that Ukrainian troops and ‘foreign mercenaries’ in the Black Sea port lay down their weapons and surrender in return for letting tens of thousands of civilians trapped in the heavily besieged city leave safely.