Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has forced millions of people to flee their homes to escape the destruction caused by the war. As of late November, over 7.8 million people have been identified as Ukrainian refugees. Ukrainians have found refuge in Poland, Slovakia, Romania, and other neighboring countries as Russia devastates their homeland.
As Ukrainians are trying to escape Russia, Russia is trying to force them into the Russian Federation. Russian authorities have been forcing Ukrainians into “filtration camps,” the conditions of which have been likened to concentration camps. During intake, Ukrainians are fingerprinted, photographed, and have other forms of their biometric data recorded.
Members of the FSB – the successor of the Soviet KGB – are allegedly beating people in the camps, punching them in their throats, making repeated blows to their stomachs, and engaging in other forms of physical abuse. Russian authorities are also forcing Ukrainians in these camps to strip naked, repeatedly questioning their political beliefs, mocking and humiliating them, and even calling them “Nazis.”
The United Nations did an assessment on the camps, where they found that the prisoners there “lacked access to food or water for more than a day,” had their hands tied so tightly it “left wounds on their wrists,” were subjected to “threats,” “dog attacks,” “electric shocks with Tasers,” and even killed. The same assessment found that women were “threatened with sexual violence,” and “subjected to degrading treatment.” The report concluded that these camps violated the Geneva Conventions and demanded that Russian authorities cease their activities – which they did not.
These camps exist in dark irony to the Russian Federation’s claims that they are on a “Special Military Operation” to “de-Nazify” Ukraine. The inhumane treatment of Ukrainians at the camps and the forced migration to the Russian Federation can be easily seen as war crimes and crimes against humanity.