This is what Michael Carpenter, the American ambassador to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), says.
The statement supports allegations by Ukrainians, which estimate that almost 1.2 million Ukrainians have been deported to Russia or Russian-controlled areas.
Carpenter claims that the Ukrainians are being taken to so-called “filtration camps”, where witnesses allegedly tell of “brutal interrogations”.
“Stories of this brutality and forced relocation are coming right now, as we speak, and these actions are tantamount to war crimes,” Carpenter said.
Save for Donetsk
“The United States estimates that Russian forces have relocated at least several thousand Ukrainians for treatment in these” filtration camps, “and evacuated at least tens of thousands more to Russia or Russian-controlled territory, sometimes without telling where they are going, he said.
According to Carpenter, there are several thousand just from Mariupol, the port city Russian forces have besieged and directed regular bomb attacks on the side just after the war broke out.
According to him, people are particularly afraid of being taken to Donetsk, where pro-Russian forces are in control.
If a person is accused of being a “Ukrainian Nazi”, they will be taken to Donetsk for “further investigation or to be killed”, Carpenter quoted a witness as saying.
The US Department of Defense said on Monday that it had observed signs of Ukrainians being forcibly deported to Russia, but did not give any figures.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj said in early April that thousands of his countrymen had been sent to Russian territory.
But since then, the number has skyrocketed to 1.2 million, at least 200,000 of them children, according to Ukrainian Ombudsman Ljudmyla Denisova.
Russia has denied violating international conventions in connection with the invasion.