Russia continues forced deportations of Ukrainians that “likely amount to a deliberate ethnic cleansing campaign” – ISW

Russian passports distributed among Ukrainian deportees

An audience hall in the Russian-occupied part of Donetsk Oblast used as one of filtration camps for the Mariupol residents awaiting the forced deportation to Russia, March-April 2022. Photo: Screenshots from Current Time's video

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In its October 15 assessment of the Russian offensive campaign, the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reports that Russia continues to carry out massive forced deportations of Ukrainians “that likely amount to a deliberate ethnic cleansing campaign in addition to apparent violations of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.”

On 14 October, Russian Deputy PM Marat Khusnullin stated that “several thousand” Ukrainian children from occupied Kherson Oblast are “already in other regions of Russia, resting in rest homes and children’s camps.”

Previously ISW reported that “Russian authorities openly admitted to placing children from occupied areas of Ukraine up for adoption with Russian families in a manner that may constitute a violation of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.”

ISW says that Russian authorities may also be engaged in a wider campaign of ethnic cleansing by “depopulating Ukrainian territory through deportations and repopulating Ukrainian cities with imported Russian citizens.”

Ethnic cleansing has not in itself been specified as a crime under international law but has been defined by the United Nations Commission of Experts on violations of humanitarian law committed on the territory of the former Yugoslavia as “rendering an area ethnically homogeneous by using force or intimidation to remove persons of given groups from the area” and “a purposeful policy designed by one ethnic or religious group to remove by violent and terror-inspiring means the civilian population of another ethnic or religious group from certain geographic areas”,” ISW wrote.

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