Ukraine Live Updates: WNBA star returns to Russian court after pleading guilty

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There are Russian officials“Questioned,Between 900,000 and 1.6 million Ukrainian citizens, including 260,000 children, were detained and forcibly deported from their homes inside Russian territory, mostly in the Far East, according to US Secretary of State Anthony J. Blinken said in a statement On Wednesday.

“The illegal transfer and deportation of protected persons is a serious violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention on the Protection of Civilians and a war crime,” said Mr. Blingen.

Mr. Blinken said he was making the statement ahead of Thursday’s Ukraine Accountability Conference in The Hague. Conference website It says its purpose is to “ensure that war crimes committed during the war in Ukraine go unpunished.” Its sponsors are the Dutch government, the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court and the European Commission.

Russia admits 1.5 million Ukrainians are now in Russia, but insists they were expelled for their own safety.

Ukrainian officials have long issued warnings to Russia DeportationsWith President Volodymyr Zelensky Describes the past month They were “one of Russia’s most heinous war crimes”. Since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, more than 200,000 children have been deported.

Testimony to The New York Times and other news organizations Deportees from Russia include details of filtering sites and interrogations, beatings and disappearances of those believed to be linked to Ukraine’s armed forces.

European officials have described filtering sites set up in schools, sports centers and cultural institutions recently seized by Russian forces in parts of Ukraine.

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From those sites, many Ukrainians have been transported to locations across Russia — often to areas far from Ukraine, near China or Japan, according to testimony.

Some US officials have previously raised concerns Deportationsbut gave only vague estimates of size.

Michael Carpenter, US ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe; said during a speech in Vienna in May Several witnesses have given detailed accounts of Russia’s “brutal interrogations.” Inside At least several thousand Ukrainians were forced into concentration camps and at least tens of thousands were deported.

On Wednesday Mr. Blinken’s report also noted reports indicating that Russian forces were “deliberately” separating Ukrainian children from their parents and abducting others from orphanages. Witnesses and survivors described “frequent incidents of threats, harassment and torture by Russian security forces”.

In some cases, Ukrainians’ passports were confiscated and replaced with Russian passports, the report said, “in an apparent attempt to change the demographic structure of some parts of Ukraine.”

There is also mounting evidence that Russian authorities have detained or disappeared thousands of Ukrainian citizens who did not pass the filtering process, including those associated with the Ukrainian military, regional security forces, media, government and civil society. groups.

Reports indicate that Russian authorities have taken tens of thousands of people to detention facilities inside Russian-controlled Donetsk, where many have been tortured. According to reports, others were “summarily executed, along with evidence of Russian atrocities committed in Bucha, Mariupol and elsewhere in Ukraine.”

Mr. Blinken’s statement said the United States calls for an immediate end to the deportations and calls on Russian authorities to release those detained and allow them to return home. Independent outside observers should be allowed access to so-called filtering facilities, which serve as a transit point for many deportations, as well as places where Ukrainians have been deported, the statement said.

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“President Putin and his government cannot afford to engage in these systemic abuses with impunity,” the statement said. “Responsibility is essential.”

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