Is Putin Herding Ukrainian Refugees Into “Filtration Camps”? – After evacuation efforts across Ukraine’s major cities repeatedly failed, with reports suggesting that Russian troops were sabotaging evacuation routes and even evacuating supplies and vehicles in humanitarian convoys, the United States ambassador to the United Nations said on Tuesday that Russian forces are now interrogating fleeing Ukrainian citizens in “filtration camps.”
Civilians are also reportedly being abducted and taken to Russia.
Linda Thomas-Greenfield spoke after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who addressed the United Nations Security Council via video feed, and said that the United States is investigating and assessing war crimes committed by Russian troops in Ukraine so far.
“We’ve all seen the gruesome photos, lifeless bodies lying in the streets, apparently summarily executed, their hands tied behind their backs,” she said. “As we work to independently confirm the events depicted in these images, I would remind this council that based on the currently available information, the United States has assessed that members of Russia’s forces have committed war crimes in Ukraine.”
Thomas-Greenfield also described how there are “credible reports” of Russian troops abducting Ukrainian civilians, stealing their passports, and even interrogating them in camps.
“Some of them, according to credible reports, including by the Mariupol City Council, have been taken to so-called filtration camps, where Russian forces are reportedly making tens of thousands of Ukrainian citizens relocate to Russia,” the ambassador explained, adding that reports also indicate that federal Russian security agents are aiding the abduction of Ukrainian citizens, confiscating cellphones and even separating families.
If the reports prove to be true – and officials believe they are accurate – it’s a sign that Russian troops are not shy to commit war crimes in the name of advancing Russia’s “denazification” efforts in Ukraine. It’s also a sign that Russia could be escalating in response to its military’s inability to take control of Kiev and other western parts of Ukraine.
Putin May Do “All Kinds of Dangerous Things”
During an interview with Fox News anchor Sean Hannity on Monday, Republican Florida Senator Marco Rubio warned that Russian President Vladimir Putin may escalate aggression in Ukraine – and beyond – to reassert his strength on the global stage.
Rubio warned that if Putin feels that he will lose the war in Ukraine and that he’s “running out of options,” then there are “all kinds of dangerous things he’s prepared to do.”
There are two things happening right now,” Rubio said. “Americans are losing confidence in Joe Biden and his ability to manage the job and to get results and changes for our country, but it’s not like foreign leaders and foreign adversaries don’t watch the same video. They watch the same things,”
The comments come after reports revealed that Putin’s top advisors were too afraid to tell him the truth about the situation in Ukraine. Assuming that the Russian president is unaware of the extent of his military’s casualties and defeats across Ukraine – despite bombarding and destroying major cities in the process – then it is possible that Putin has not pulled the trigger on several measures that he may have reserved for a time of crisis.
Beyond reports of filtration camps and the rape and mutilation of women and girls in Bucha, Ukraine, investigations are also currently taking place into accusations that Russia could begin a wave of chemical attacks, starting with a strike at a storage tank filled with nitric acid in the Luhansk city of Rubizhne.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.