Ukrainian mom describes being held in Russian ‘filtration camp’ where she says FSB agents tried to brainwash her

Ukrainian mom describes being held in Russian 'filtration camp' where she says FSB agents tried to brainwash her

Mariupol evacuation

People evacuated from Mariupol arrive on buses at a registration and processing area for internally displaced people in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine.DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP via Getty Images

  • A Ukrainian woman has described the conditions facing civilians in Russian detention camps.

  • She told Politico she was photographed, fingerprinted, and interrogated for hours after being taken from Mariupol.

  • Russia is estimated to have detained around 1 million Ukrainian civilians in those camps.

A Ukrainian mother has described how she and other civilians detained by Russia and deported to so-called “filtration camps” were subjected to hours of interrogation by FSB agents there.

One woman, identified only as Oksana, told Politico’s Christopher Miller that when Russia attacked the port city of Mariupol in southern Ukraine on February 24, she, her children, and her initially took shelter in a freezing bomb shelter with other civilians, with no electricity and limited food and water, for two weeks.

She told Politico that on March 15, Russian soldiers entered their shelter, separated men and women, and ordered them onto buses. She said the women and children were taken to a “filtration camp” for Ukrainian civilians about 15 miles from Russia, and the report says the men are sent to different camps.

There, she said, they were fingerprinted, photographed, and asked to hand over personal information, and all the data was transferred from their cell phones. They were then interrogated by agents from Russia’s FSB intelligence agency, in an apparent bid to establish if they had ties to the Ukrainian military or government, she told Politico.

Reports of these camps have emerged since March, with people reporting similar experiences of being photographed, fingerprinted, told to hand over their phonesand interrogated for government or military ties.

Oksana told Politico that after the initial round of questioning, they were then transported to another camp further in Russia, where they were subjected to a new round of interrogations — which were often loaded questions about what they saw the Ukrainian army destroy, and with which weapons.

Those who gave answers the interrogators didn’t like were taken away, presumably to another detention center, the woman said.

Those who were left were then loaded onto buses again and taken to another camp near Taganrog, a port city in southern Russia, Oksana told Politico. There, civilians who had not raised any red flags during the interrogation were given the option to leave if they had funds available.

Thanks to a network set up in Russia to help Ukrainians taken there, Oksana’s niece was able to travel to Moscow, then to Saint Petersburg, and leave Russia into Estonia, she said.

Oksana and her children though remained in Russia as Oksana did not have a passport, and were placed in a small apartment in the city of Vladimir, while the children were made to enroll in a local school, she said.

She said her daughter was made to take part in a Russian military TV propaganda interview, designed to show Ukrainian civilians were being treated in a humane way, and was subjected to anti-Ukrainian indoctrination in class.

Eventually, Oksana and her children were also able to escape Russia into Latvia by pretending they were traveling to visit distant relatives in Russia, she said.

The account is one of the first to emerge about the conditions facing Ukrainian civilians who have been forcibly deported to Russia.

The Ukrainian government said that around one million Ukrainians in eastern and southern Ukraine had been rounded up and taken to detention centers in Russia since the outbreak of the war in late February. Moscow says the civilians are being evacuated from areas where there is fighting for their own safety.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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