US Calls On Russia To Stop Deportations

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The United States called on Russia to immediately release Ukrainians it has forced out of their home country and allow outside observers, citing reports Moscow was putting Ukrainian children up for adoption and “disappearing” thousands of others.

“The unlawful transfer and deportation of protected persons is a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention on the protection of civilians and is a war crime,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday.

In a statement, Blinken said reports indicated Moscow was “deliberately separating Ukrainian children from their parents and abducting others from orphanages before putting them up for adoption inside Russia”, and “detaining or disappearing thousands of Ukrainian civilians who do not pass ‘filtration.'”

Ukrainian officials have accused Russia of deporting hundreds of thousands of people from Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine and forcing them into so-called “filtration camps” and called for support from the Red Cross.

The Russian embassy in the United States said the comments made by Washington were an attempt to stoke “Russophobia”.

“Washington’s attempt to vilify the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation is apparently connected with dissatisfaction with the success of a special military operation,” Russia’s embassy said in a Facebook post.

The embassy said that the humanitarian corridors were also operational in the region, adding that “statements about the forcible confiscation of Ukrainian passports are poor quality Western disinformation”.

The 1949 Geneva Conventions, which define international legal standards for humanitarian treatment in conflict, prohibit mass forcible transfers of civilians during a conflict to the territory of the occupying power, classifying it as a war crime.

“Estimates from a variety of sources, including the Russian government, indicate that Russian authorities have interrogated, detained and  forcibly deported between 900,000 and 1.6 million Ukrainian citizens, including 260,000 children, from their homes to Russia – often to isolated regions in the Far East,” Blinken said ahead of a conference scheduled on Thursday to address “accountability” in the ongoing conflict.

Moscow, which invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, has denied intentionally targeting civilians.

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