May 19, 2022

Filtration, Evacuation, Deportation


Filtration, Evacuation, Deportation
The Mariupol Train Station prior to the war, now on the front lines. Wikimedia commons user Mykola Swarnyk

Since the Russian Armed Forces arrived in Ukraine, Ukrainians have been getting pushed out of their homes through deportation and evacuation. Some, however, are being forced to go through filtration camps. 

There are at least three known filtration camps in Ukraine: in Dokuchaevsk, Bezymyanny, and Mariupol. The purpose of these camps is to "filter" out those with pro-Ukrainian views and then send them to Russian detainment centers, after their anti-Russian sentiments have been established. These filtration camps often consist of people living in tents, and some are so overcrowded that there is no room to lie down. While in these camps Ukrainians are fingerprinted, searched, personal data is collected, men are undressed, any bodily markings are noted, and they are interrogated.

Those who have been deported and evacuated are not sent a few miles from home, but are often sent into the interior of Russia itself. The mayor of Mariupol claimed that some prisoners have even been taken to Siberia and eastern Russia.

Ukrainians who are then released from such camps must try to find their way back home. Once in Russia, there are apparently three routes that Ukrainians are using: through Crimea, Georgia, or St. Petersburg and into Estonia — the latter being the most popular route. As long as Ukrainians retain their passports and do not receive any stamps during their exfiltration process, leaving Russia should be fairly easy, but it’s impossible to say with certainty.

Not only is the stamping of passports a potential issue in filtration camps, but so is forced passportization, wherein the Russian occupiers replace Ukrainian passports with Russian ones. According to Eleonora Yemets, head of the criminal cases practice at ADER HABER law firm, this violates Ukrainian law as well as the Geneva Conventions and is a war crime.

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