Ukrainian prisoners, mostly civilians, are being taken into Russia to camps, according to senior U.S. defense official John Kirby.
“I can’t speak to how many camps or what they look like,” said Kirby, speaking in his role as Pentagon spokesperson. “But we do have indications that Ukrainians are being taken against their will into Russia.”
Kirby did not have any numbers, but last month, Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov claimed that over a million Ukrainians had been moved into Russia since the beginning of the war. Lavrov declared the mass transport to be an evacuation for the people’s own good, but officials in Kviv have been reporting forced ‘deportation’ of Ukrainian citizens. Kviv put the number at about 800,000 people, but that is probably a very conservative estimate.
The total population of Ukraine, as of their last census in 2020, is 44.13 million. Nearly 5 million people have fled the country as refugees. Add the 1 million kidnapped Ukrainian prisoners and Ukraine’s population has dropped by over 13% since the beginning of the war in February. That’s not including the casualties.
Vladimir Putin has so far deliberately avoided calling this an invasion or a war, choosing instead to call it a ‘special military operation’ while simultaneously reminding the world he has nuclear weapons should anyone interfere too much.
On Monday May 9th, which is the day Russia celebrates the end of WWII, Russian forces held a Victory Day Parade through captured Mariupol, where only a month ago over 600 men, women, and children were killed in a bomb shelter below a theater. Eyewitnesses report seeing Ukrainian citizens made to march in the parade, and the Ukrainian flag was banned.
The world has seen this before. Citizens removed to camps. False holidays imposed on people and their own icons barred. Ukraine has seen this before. The world cannot be allowing it to happen again.