About 3,000 civilians from Mariupol are being held in prisons in eastern Ukraine, official says

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Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine have arrested around 3,000 civilians from the besieged city of Mariupol, the country’s human rights chief said on Thursday.

Lyudmyla Denysova said on social media that the Ukrainian government is aware of at least two prisons set up in the Donetsk region, one in the regional capital of Donetsk and another in Olenivka, a suburb 20 km southwest downtown, according to the Associated Press.

She said Kyiv authorities had received reports of people being “tortured, interrogated, threatened with execution and coerced into cooperating”, and others disappearing after interrogations.

A member of the Russian Emergencies Ministry walks near a destroyed residential building in Mariupol, Ukraine, Thursday, May 11.
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A member of the Russian Emergencies Ministry walks near a destroyed residential building in Mariupol, Ukraine, Thursday, May 11.
(Reuters/Alexander Ermoshenko)

US SAYS ‘TENS OF THOUSANDS’ OF UKRAINIANS SENT TO RUSSIAN TERRITORIES

Denysova also alleged that the detainees were held in “inhumane conditions” with insufficient access to toilets and no space to lie down.

She claimed some captives were released after 36 days, after signing unspecified documents, but did not provide further details.

Children gather at a playground in Mariupol, Ukraine on Thursday, May 11.

Children gather at a playground in Mariupol, Ukraine on Thursday, May 11.

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More than 100,000 civilians still live in the ruined port city of Mariupol, which had a pre-war population of around half a million.

A destroyed tank and a building damaged by heavy fighting are seen in an area controlled by Russian-backed separatist forces in Mariupol, Ukraine, Tuesday, April 26.

A destroyed tank and a building damaged by heavy fighting are seen in an area controlled by Russian-backed separatist forces in Mariupol, Ukraine, Tuesday, April 26.
(AP/Alexei Alexandrov)

Ukrainian authorities previously claimed that “thousands of Ukrainians” had been forcibly taken to Russia.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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