Russian filtration camps are 'ghettos' of Mariupol, official says

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Mariupol’s advisor to the mayor said Thursday that the filtration camps set up by Russian forces outside the southern port city have become “ghettos” where men face torture and forced labor. 

Petro Andryushchenko said three filtration camps have been established east of Mariupol in the village of Bezymiane – roughly 20 miles from the Russian border – which are believed to be housing 2,000 men who will be used in Russia’s Victory Day parade on May 9.

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Local residents clean their apartments damaged by Russian shelling in Dobropillya, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Saturday, April 30, 2022.

Local residents clean their apartments damaged by Russian shelling in Dobropillya, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Saturday, April 30, 2022.
(AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

The official said one video leaked from a camp in the Novoazovsk district shows that an old school building is being used to forcibly detain Ukrainian men taken from Guglino, Myrnyi and Volonterivka districts.

The men have reportedly been denied medical assistance or adequate care and at least one case of tuberculosis has been confirmed.

Russian soldiers reportedly turned the school gym into an isolation ward “where a large number of people were locked up without medical care.”

“Conditions of detention are terrible – people are forced to sleep on the floor in the corridors,” he said. At least one man has reportedly died after being denied medical care, though it is unclear what he died from. 

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A truck drives past the Mariupol theater damaged during fighting in Mariupol, in territory under the government of the Donetsk People's Republic, eastern Ukraine, on Wednesday, April 27.

A truck drives past the Mariupol theater damaged during fighting in Mariupol, in territory under the government of the Donetsk People’s Republic, eastern Ukraine, on Wednesday, April 27.
(AP//Alexei Alexandrov)

Andryushchenko posted several videos to Telegram that appear to have been discretely shot from within the schoolhouse.

The mayoral advisor called the images “a real ghetto for Mariupol” and said, “Without exaggeration, this is a new page in Russia’s military crime.”

Andryushchenko said the men have had their identification documents taken them and have instead been issued filtration papers.

Several men reportedly attempted to escape after they saw U.N. and Red Cross evacuation buses, but they were captured and beaten. 

All detained men, including the sick and those with disabilities, are required to do hard labor.

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Andryushchenko suggested that the Russians have not yet decided how they use the Ukrainian men but said they will either be forcibly conscripted into Russia’s ranks or be used to help to clear rubble from Mariupol – the site of one of Russia’s largest bombing campaigns in Ukraine. 

“At the same time, on Monday, May 2, it was announced that the men would take part in the parade on May 9 in Mariupol as ‘prisoners’,” he added, noting they will be dressed in the uniform of a Ukrainian soldier.

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