The Russian occupation forces have organised at least 21 filtration camps in the temporarily occupied territories of the Donetsk region to detain Ukrainian citizens unlawfully, Reuters reports with reference to a report by Yale University researchers.

The experts conducted a study backed by the U.S. State Department and, based on commercial satellite imagery and open-source information, determined that the camps are located in facilities that previously served as schools, markets and regular prisons.

Nathaniel Raymond, the lab’s executive director, said the findings showed Russia and its proxies had established a “system of filtration” to sort people in areas that fall under Russian occupation that represents a “human rights emergency.”

The researchers also reported human rights violations in the temporarily occupied Olenivka, where Russians and pro-Russian militants killed 53 Ukrainian prisoners of war.

The report indicates that the Russian troops put civilians in the combat zone through registration and interrogation before they are either released, kept in detention, or transported to Russia.

Based on this information, the U.S. Department of State called on Russia to stop filtration and forced deportation of Ukrainians.

“The unlawful transfer and deportation of protected persons is a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention on the protection of civilians and constitutes a war crime. We again call on Russia to immediately halt its filtration operations and forced deportations and to provide outside independent observers access to identified facilities and forced deportation relocation areas within Russia-controlled areas of Ukraine and inside Russia itself,” reads the statement.

The U.S. Department of State underscores that President Putin and his government “will not be able to engage in these persistent abuses with impunity” and the United States and partners will not be silent.

“The people of Ukraine deserve justice, and the United States will continue to stand united with them for as long as it takes,” the statement notes.

Bohdan Marusyak

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