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Russia Is Being Accused Of Forcefully Taking Ukrainians To Russia And Belarus

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has accused Russia of forcefully evacuating citizens of the besieged port city of Mariupol to Russia and Belarus, after reports of Russian soldiers escorting those trying to get out of the city to Russian checkpoints and the Russian held Donbas region surfaced last weekend.

Russian president Vladimir Putin made a statement saying: “We're only taking Belarusians and Russians who are trapped in Mariupol back to areas we have a foothold”.

Russia is holding roughly 5,000 people at a temporary refugee center in Bezimenne, east of Mariupol where the Russians have a foothold.

Ukraine's deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk claimed that Russia and Belarus have forcibly relocated an estimated 40,000 people to Russian and Belarusian held territory in the north and east.

Ukrainian officials have described the camps as relay hubs for “Filtration Camps”, used by Russia since the Chechen War in the 90's and early 2000's where many were tortured and “Went missing”.

140,000 civilians have escaped Mariupol, however another 170,000 are still trapped in the city.

Some went west towards Lviv and Kiev, whilst the ones scooped up by the Russians were taken to the Donetsk Peoples Republic (DPR) one of the two breakaway republics in the Donbas region.

One woman said: “Once there you'd decide if you were going to Russia, Belarus, or the DPR”.

Over the course of thousands of years, Russians and Ukrainians have forged strong ties resulting in Ukrainians having family in Russia and vice versa.

Some 6,000 refugees have been taken to Belarus and nearly 300,000 have been taken to Russia.

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