Ukrainian citizens are being abducted and sent to forced labor camps in Russia, says Ukrainian MP. Inna Sovsun said reports shared across Mariupol indicate that thousands of her compatriots are forced into forced labor.
Mariupol was heavily attacked by Russian forces and much of the city was completely destroyed by the siege. While claims that thousands of Mariupol residents are being abducted and sent to Russia are unverified, Ms Sovsun said that is the information shared by city authorities.
Speaking to Times Radio, she said: “The very logic of Russia right now is the logic of the Soviet Union and the logic of Nazi Germany. It is a completely totalitarian state, and it acts as one.
“So from what we know from the mayor of the city and the city council, they are taking Ukrainian citizens. They send them to what are called “filtration camps”, then they are transferred to very remote regions of Russia, where they are forced to sign papers (stipulating) that they will stay in this region for two or three years and they will work for free in these regions.
Telling her that what she was describing was “effectively slave labor”, Ms Sovsun replied: “It is, yes”.
Mariupol was surrounded by Russian troops, with the city cut off from energy, food and water supplies. It suffered constant bombardments.
A bomb reportedly hit an art school in Mariupol where 400 people had taken refuge. Local authorities said the school building had been destroyed and people could be trapped in the rubble.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said she was “appalled” by the alleged “kidnappings and deportations” of Ukrainians to Russia. She condemned the “Russian atrocities” taking place in the southeastern port city and said Vladimir Putin would be “held accountable”.
Speaking to social media, she said: “I am appalled by Russian atrocities in Mariupol, including the attacks on schools housing civilians and the kidnapping and deportation of Ukrainians.
“Putin is resorting to desperate measures because he is not achieving his goals. Putin and his regime will be held accountable.