At least 18 such centers have been identified in the Russian-controlled territories of Donbass. According to the testimonies of civilians, acts constituting war crimes were committed there.
Special Envoy to Ukraine
some”filtering centersbuilt by the Russians in the occupied areas of Donbass, according to a report of the Media initiative for Human Rights presented Wednesday, July 28 to the OSCE. The organization collects testimonies from civilians describing acts that constitute war crimes: strip searches, arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, torture or mock executions. At least 18 filtration centers were discovered in areas under Russian control in the two Donbass regions, Donetsk and Luhansk.
The report states that this filtering process is implemented in all territories occupied by Russian forces. “These facts were created by the Russians, probably linked to the FSB. They looked for patriotic tattoos, signs of the use of weapons on the men’s bodies. They search the phones for compromising photos or messages. In some cases, they practiced violent interrogations to test a person’s loyalty to the occupying authorities.», explained Olga Reshetylova, coordinator of the Media initiative for Human Rights.
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These checks, which specifically target men suspected of carrying weapons or secret agents, also target women or people who are not old enough to fight. In particular, they are placed at checkpoints, where suspects can be detained for further investigation. “At the Starobilsk police station they threatened me and told me that they would put me in prison. They abused me, beating me on the face, back and whole bodysaid Yurii Berezovskyi, a man from Luhansk Oblast. They are trying to expose what I believe to be a member of the Ukrainian army.»
Some civilians go through this process for days or even weeks. During these inspections, they are subjected to physical and psychological pressure. Cases of murder have been registered, the report said. Victoria, a woman from Mariupol, was detained with her husband in Bezimenne, Donetsk Oblast. “In the middle of the night, a soldier entered the room, called my husband by his last name and ordered him out. That was the last time I saw him. His mother tried to find out where they took him. They said no one would tell us and that he should be shot.Another woman, Mariya Vdovychenko, recounted a conversation between two Donbass separatist soldiers in the village of Manhush, where she was interrogated:What do you do with those who pass the filtration?» ; “I killed 10 and then I stopped counting, boring.He remembers his knees shaking when in the room where he was held, a soldier lying on the mattress said of him: “You don’t like it? There are other girls, let’s find out.He was pushed outside, but they beat his father, according to his testimony. “As a result, he lost sight in one eye, and the other could see like through a plastic bag.“, he said.
We were 40 in a cell, 30 of us slept while the rest remained standing.
Oleksii, imprisoned in Olenivka prison
For others, the screening process led them to detention centers where cases of humiliating treatment, torture and even murder were reported. “I saw what they did to the Ukrainian soldiers; they tortured them with electric shocks. There is no question of any Geneva Convention“, reports Oleksii, about the acts committed in a detention center in the Donetsk region. He was transferred to the prison in Olenivka: “The living conditions there were terrible. We were 40 in a cell, 30 of us slept while the rest remained standing.Prisoners were rationed water, had no sanitary facilities andalways beaten», Still according to Oleksii’s testimony.
In Nikolske, Zaporizhia Oblast, where residents of Mariupol went through this filtering process, there was a testimony of a case of torture. “They showed me Serhii twicesaid Iryna Dubchenko. The first time before the interrogation, his hands were tied and he was beaten. Then, after the interrogation, he was out of handcuffs, sitting on a chair. I realized that he couldn’t stand.
“We demand that these illegal acts stopsaid Olga Reshetylova, a day after the report was presented in Geneva to a delegation of 30 OSCE states. The international community must put pressure on Russia to allow the presence of independent international organizations such as the Red Cross in these filtration centers.»
The list of “filtering centersincomplete, determines the NGO. According to the General Intelligence Directorate of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, civilians from the occupied town of Rubizhne in Luhansk were taken to the filtering centers in Starobilsk, Luhansk, and Sorokyne, while people from Popasnaya were taken to Pervomaisk and Kadiivka. Other information mentions a filtration center built in the village of Velyka Lepetykha, Kherson oblast. In addition, cases were also reported on the territory of Russia.
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