US believes Russia plans to “create a more pliable population”, in part by processing Ukrainians through camps, official says

The US has ruled that Russian forces have developed a plan to “develop a more pliable population” in regions of Ukraine, in part due to the forced relocation of civilians, the US ambassador to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) said Thursday. .

In Thursday’s speech, OSCE Ambassador Michael Carpenter said the US believes Russian troops have “moved at least several thousand Ukrainians for processing” in so-called “filtration camps” and also “moved at least tens of thousands more into Russia or Russia in a controlled area.” .”

Carpenter’s description of the detention centers included an explanation for why they are called filtration camps.

“Numerous eyewitness accounts indicate that ‘filtering out’ involves individuals being beaten and tortured to determine whether they owe the slightest loyalty to the Ukrainian state,” he said. “According to these reports, those who have such loyalties are transferred to the so-called ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’, where they will meet a dark fate.”

Donetsk and neighboring Luhansk, two regions that share a border with Russia, have a ruthless military offensiveas troops tear through small towns on their way to the strategic cities of Kramatorsk and Slovyansk.

UKRAINE-RUSSIA CONFLICT
A Ukrainian soldier walks towards a destroyed house in the village of Yatskivka, eastern Ukraine, on April 16, 2022.

RONALDO SCHEMIDT/AFP via Getty Images


Carpenter quoted a Russian processing survivor as saying that those who failed the “filtration process” were shot. And he referred to satellite images showing some of these makeshift encampments in southeastern Ukraine.

“Victims describe an invasive and humiliating process of inspection at these centers,” he said. “Russian soldiers photograph victims from different angles, fingerprint and physically examine them for tattoos, inspect their cell phones and download their contacts and data onto devices, and record their biographical information in various databases. Some victims report being interrogated by suspected Russian intelligence services In some cases, the Russian soldiers confiscated passports, identification documents and mobile phones.”

“As Russia is well aware, the forcible relocation or transfer of civilians would violate international humanitarian law, but as we have seen, the Kremlin treats international law with utter contempt,” he added.

In his speech on Thursday, Carpenter also condemned Russia’s “cruel and brutal military campaign” and said Russian forces are removing elected officials from local offices. He cited “highly credible” reports that those officials are “kidnapped, interned, disappeared and sometimes killed”.

“In their place, according to these reports, Russia is replacing its puppets and proxies, which, like their counterparts in the so-called ‘Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics’, operate in the style of a local mafia, relying on violence and terror,” said Timmerman.

He said the US is particularly concerned about Kherson, where Russia has reportedly installed a pro-Russian “puppet administration” and imposed the use of the Russian currency, the ruble. Carpenter also said Russia’s actions are “increasingly indicating” that Russia could move to annex the region.

The news comes as director of national intelligence Avril Haines told lawmakers that the US thinks that Russian President Vladimir Putin is preparing for “a prolonged conflict in Ukraine”.

Haines said Putin likely believes Russia has a “greater ability and willingness to face challenges” than Ukraine – but also said if his convictions do not match the capabilities of the Russian military, there is a risk of a “more unpredictable and potentially escalating trajectory” into the conflict.

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