Local officials say thousands of Ukrainians ‘forcibly’ taken from Mariupol to camps inside Russia

The city council of Mariupol, Ukraine has reported that thousands of its citizens are being forcibly relocated by the invading Russian forces to camps likened to those used by the Nazis in WWII.

In a statement posted to Telegram Saturday, the council explained that in the past week, thousands of their residents have been taken away.

“Over the past week, several thousand residents of Mariupol have been taken to Russian territory,” the release said, according to Ukrinform. “The occupiers illegally drove away people from the Levoberezhny district and a bomb shelter in a sports club building, where more than a thousand people (mostly women and children) were hiding from constant bombing.”

Like the Mariupol Drama Theater that had been struck in the ongoing attacks against the southeastern city, the sport club building primarily housed women and children.

Though that building was not destroyed in a fashion like the theater, those sheltering Ukrainians had their phones and documents checked in the “filtration” camps before some are believed to have been sent off to remote Russian cities.

The council explained further in their statement that the opportunity for these forced relocations was brought on by the Ukrainian Armed Forces deliberately repositioning away from the concentrations of sheltered civilians. This led to the Russians moving in against the undefended populous, many of whom have not been heard from since their relocation.

Vadym Boichenko, the mayor of Mariupol, was quoted in the statement likening these actions to concentration camps from WWII. According to a rough translation, Boichenko said, “What the occupiers are doing today is familiar to the older generation, who saw the terrible events of the Second World War, when the Nazis forcibly captured people.”

“It is difficult to imagine that in the 21st century people were forcibly taken to another country,” Boichenko went on. “Not only are Russian troops destroying our peaceful Mariupol, they went even further and began to take out Mariupol residents. All war crimes by Russia should receive the harshest punishment.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken echoed the sentiment expressed by President Joe Biden that the United States also recognizes the brutal actions of the Russian invasion to be war crimes. “Intentionally targeting civilians is a war crime,” Blinken stated plainly. “After all the destruction of the past few weeks, I find it difficult to conclude that the Russians are doing otherwise.”

Blinken included the destruction of medical facilities in his assessment Thursday which officials from Mariupol have also discussed. Additionally, the emergency services that they rely on to aid those trapped within shelled buildings and to provide supplies for those in need have been equally wrecked by the attacks.

Boichenko pointed out, “Tanks and machine gun battles continue. There’s no city centre left. There isn’t a small piece of land in the city that doesn’t have signs of war.”

The city, which normally boasts more than 300,000 residents, has been cut off from electricity and the food supplies are rapidly dwindling, the New York Post reported.


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