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Russia 'filters' Ukrainians in temporarily occupied territories – Ombudsman

KYIV. May 5 (Interfax-Ukraine) – The Russian military is "filtering" Ukrainians in the temporarily occupied or surrounded territories of Ukraine, Verkhovna Rada Commissioner for Human Rights Liudmyla Denisova reports.

In a post on her Facebook page on Thursday, Denisova noted that information has been received from partner human rights organizations about an extensive network of places for "filtering" Ukrainians.

"In the temporarily occupied territory in Donetsk region, ‘filtration’ is carried out in the city and district departments of the so-called Ministry of Internal Affairs of the DPR in Donetsk, Mariupol, Makiyivka, Starobesheve, Manhush, Bugas, Bezymianny, as well as in the filtration camps in Dokuchaivsk, Mykilske, Manhush, Yalta (Manhush district), in Donetsk pretrial detention center… where the filtering procedure is more stringent," the Ombudsman said in a statement.

According to Denisova, in the temporarily occupied territory of Luhansk region, "filtration" is carried out in the city and district departments of the "LPR Ministry of Internal Affairs", as well as in "filtration camps" in Perevalsky district of Luhansk region, located on the basis of the former Chornukhinska penal colony No. 23.

The Ombudswoman said that Ukrainians who voluntarily or forcibly left the settlements where hostilities are being fought, or fell under temporary occupation, are subjected to "filtration". "This procedure is carried out before forced deportation to the Russian Federation," the Ombudsman said.

Denisova said that residents who have passports of the Russian Federation and the so-called LPR and DPR are not subject to "filtering".

"The purpose of ‘filtering’ is to conduct a census of the surviving population to clean up unreliable in accordance with the lists of employees of state institutions, utilities, ATO/JFO participants, Ukrainian activists provided by the collaborators, and to check people for loyalty to the Russian authorities," Denisova said.

According to her, as part of this procedure, Ukrainians are interrogated, they are fingerprinted, examined for tattoos, their mobile phones are checked. Some people, as Denisova noted, have to wait for this procedure for several days.

"In case of passing the ‘filtration’, a person is issued a ‘pass’, giving the right to move around the territory of the self-proclaimed ‘LDPR’. Later, Ukrainian citizens are sent to economically depressed regions of Russia. At the same time, Ukrainians receive documents prohibiting leaving Russian regions for two years," the Ombudsman said.

Denisova said that Ukrainians who have not passed the "filteration," are being taken away in an unknown direction, there is no information about them.

"Men of military age are placed in ‘filtration camps’, most often ATO/JFO members, former servicemen and law enforcement officers, pro-Ukrainian activists. One of the goals of placing and keeping men in these ‘camps’ is to replenish the exchange fund. There, all men are subjected to torture and humiliation, are kept in inhuman conditions," the Rada Commissioner for Human Rights said.