‘Not going to stop’. Ombudswoman says russians deported more than 1.3m civilians, including 223,000 children, from Ukraine

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Long before the full-scale military invasion, the russian federation had been preparing to deport Ukrainian citizens to its territory, Liudmyla Denisova, Verkhovna Rada Commissioner for Human Rights, said in a statement following an online meeting with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi.

“The key topic for discussion with the UNHCR chief was the forcible deportation to russia of more than 1,300,000 Ukrainians, including 223,000 children. I have documentary evidence of this with the addresses, names of responsible persons, and the number of locations available in each. Today, 33% of locations in russia are yet to be filled, so they are obviously not going to stop” the Ukrainian ombudswoman said.

The directives on arranging a temporary stay of Ukrainians have been sent across russia’s federal districts, she added.

In accordance with the resolution of the UN Human Rights Council, russia must provide international human rights watchdogs, including UN institutions, unimpeded access to Ukrainian citizens who have been taken to russia, Denisova noted, adding that UNHCR should play a key role in implementing such measures.

For his part, Grandi noted that currently the Office has no access to Ukrainians held in russia.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees asked for Denisova’s evidence and other materials to be used along with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to put pressure on the government of the invading power to force it to provide access for UN institutions and talk more specifically about people’s return.

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