Ukraine update: ‘Filtration camp’ may be the most disgusting euphemism since WW II

Ukraine update: ‘Filtration camp’ may be the most disgusting euphemism since WW II

Russian media is now bragging about the one aspect of the Ukraine invasion where Russia is actually demonstrating an ability to conduct operations on a frighteningly large scale. That thing doesn’t involve standing up to the Ukrainian military; it involves the wholesale processing of Ukrainian civilians for torture, kidnapping, and enslavement.

Military expert on state TV talks about “filtration camps” for POWs, with just one facility “set up to accept 100,000.” With such large numbers, they’re obviously talking not just about POWs, but Ukrainians at large who don’t welcome Putin’s invasion. How many camps are there?

— Julia Davis (@JuliaDavisNews) April 30, 2022

Back in early April, Yahoo News took a look at the filtration camps Russia had created at that point, and at the degrading conditions faced by Ukrainians who found themselves placed in one of these camps.

“The filtration camps, described as large plots of military tents with rows of men in uniforms, are where deported Ukrainians are photographed, fingerprinted, forced to turn over their cellphones, passwords and identity documents, and then questioned by officers for hours before being sent to Russia.”

At the time of that report on April 7, the Bezimenne camp in the Russian-occupied area of Donetsk had processed over 40,000 Ukrainians to be “exfiltrated” to Russia. That number can be expected to be much higher now, as Russia continues to send Ukrainians to unknown locations in Russia. On April 11, the Russian military gave an astounding number of 723,000 Ukrainians “evacuated” from Ukraine since the beginning of the invasion. That number could now be much higher.

The Bezimenne filtration camp is on the Black Sea coast east of Mariupol.

For those who have any association with the Ukrainian military, the Ukrainian government, as well as foreign journalists, or for anyone so unfortunate as to be suspected of any connection to the Azov Regiment, the situation is much worse than being fingerprinted and robbed before being stuck on a bus for who knows where. 

“It was like a true concentration camp.” #Ukrainian‘s from Mariupol share chilling accounts of being held in Russia’s filtration camps. Any resistance & they could take you to the basements for interrogation & torture.” #Ukraine

— Glasnost Gone (@GlasnostGone) April 25, 2022

“The filtration camps are like ghettos,” she says. “Russians divide people into groups. Those who were suspected of having connections with the Ukrainian army, territorial defence, journalists, workers from the government – it’s very dangerous for them. They take those people to prisons to Donetsk, torture them.”

How many people have been executed and buried in mass graves outside Mariupol isn’t clear, but based on the size of those graves and the numbers already exhumed in Bucha and other locations around Kyiv, these graves are expected to contain thousands, if not tens of thousands.

Mariupol is far from the only place where people are being rounded up and shipped to these camps. Prisoners have been taken from their homes in other occupied areas like Kherson, and the some of those who have managed to escape have reported Russia is holding civilians from as far north as engineers from Chernobyl. 

The term “filtration camp” goes back to World War II, when the USSR held people, including Russians, in these camps to filter out those who didn’t have “appropriate” political beliefs, and to distribute people where the government felt they were needed. The term resurfaced following Russia’s two wars with Chechnya, where at least 200,000 people were held in the first war alone. Human Rights Watch published a report on these camps appropriately titled “Welcome to Hell” in which they recorded accounts of widespread torture, beatings, and executions. Many Chechens were simply “disappeared” from these camps, either to be murdered to shipped to labor camps elsewhere in Russia. Another aspect of these camps that was reported to be common was rape and sexual abuse of women and girls. And reports of rape by Russian soldiers were not restricted to women.

In case there was any doubt, detention and deportation of civilians is a war crime. But, as with the other war crimes Russia has already committed, punishing the guilty, much less any restitution for those individuals and families destroyed by this process, may be difficult to obtain.

Whether camps like Bezimenne will be ultimately remembered with the same kind of enduring disgust as those as Buchenwald or Bergen-Belsen remains to be seen. Right now, the biggest question may be: If Russia says they have exported over 700,000 Ukrainians to Russia, where are they?

What’s the difference between a filtration camp and a place like Sobibor or Treblinka or Auschwitz? Not a damn thing.

— Allie Powers 🇺🇦🌻 (@AllieLPowers) April 28, 2022

Saturday, Apr 30, 2022 · 5:38:32 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

There are reports on Saturday of fairly extensive fighting northeast of Kharkiv in what may represent a serious Ukrainian counter offensive.

Area NE of Kharkiv

On this map, the blue markers are villages and towns recently recaptured and secured by Ukrainian forces. The yellow markers are locations where Russian troops are reportedly facing a Ukrainian counter-assault.

Saturday, Apr 30, 2022 · 5:52:52 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Just look at how clean and pretty these are. I’d like to think the Danish forces keep their equipment like this all the time. Somehow it seems right. Notice 50 more M113s on the way to supplement that ones the US has already been shipping out. But the US ones won’t have such a peachy paint scheme.

Update on Danish donation to #Ukraine According to this source the following will be donated: 25 Piranha III APCs 50 M113G3DK APCs XX 120mm mortar M/10 XXXX+ of 120mm mortar grenades XXX Anti-tank mines

— Hans Tino Hansen (@HthHans) April 30, 2022

Saturday, Apr 30, 2022 · 5:58:16 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Holy cow. This seems unexpected.

⚡A column of cars with 🇺🇳UN logos has arrived in Mariupol. Reportedly, evacuation is underway

— Euromaidan Press (@EuromaidanPress) April 30, 2022

Saturday, Apr 30, 2022 · 5:59:58 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

A constellation of conflict.

76-year-old Volodymyr Tykhonov in his bullet-riddled garage in Zahaltsi, Ukraine. It looks like the stars in the sky.

— Visegrád 24 (@visegrad24) April 30, 2022

Saturday, Apr 30, 2022 · 6:47:51 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

CNN is now reporting that evacuations of civilians from the Azovstal plant are now underway.

Capt. Svyatoslav Palamar, the deputy commander of the Azov Regiment, said the ceasefire, which was supposed to begin at 6 a.m. local time, ended up starting at 11 a.m. local time.

“As of now, it’s the truth, both sides follow the ceasefire regime,” he said.

 At the moment, it seems that only 20 people have been evacuated. They’re described as “women, children, and elderly” who were “rescued from under the rubble.” So possibly survivors of the hospital Russia bombed earlier in the week.

“We hope that this process will be further extended and we will successfully evacuate all civilians,” he said.

It seems unlikely that the UN and Red Cross would be on site if there wasn’t going to be a significantly larger evacuation. But nothing is certain.

It could well be that Russia has come to the conclusion that letting the civilians leave Azovstal would either allow them to take more forces from Mariupol to use elsewhere, or to be even more brutal toward any fighters who remain.

Saturday, Apr 30, 2022 · 6:49:11 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

To get a sense of how inadequate it would be to just let 20 people out… 

#Mariupol Mayor: Over 600 wounded remain in field hospital at #Azovstal plant. #Kyiv Independent@IuliiaMendel

— Diplomacy140 (@Diplomacy140) April 30, 2022

Saturday, Apr 30, 2022 · 7:21:22 PM +00:00

Mark Sumner

Yes, Russia sure does seem to be against all those Nazis. 

Nothing to see here. Just Russian anti-fascist army trains for its anti-fascist parade in their fancy anti-fascist uniforms.

— Sergej Sumlenny (@sumlenny) April 30, 2022

Saturday, Apr 30, 2022 · 7:41:06 PM +00:00

Mark Sumner

I especially like the part where, after this statement, the other Russian pundit steps in to say that Fish and chips is actually a Russian invention.

“Clear off back to your Island! Eat your porridge! Catch your chip and fish from your foggy marshes and go back to praying for your moss-covered queen.” The “experts” on Russian state TV aren’t happy with the United Kingdom.

— Visegrád 24 (@visegrad24) April 30, 2022

Saturday, Apr 30, 2022 · 7:53:04 PM +00:00

Mark Sumner

UN officials are reportedly still in Mariupol, attempting to negotiate additional evacuations of civilians. Meanwhile, multiple reports indicate civilians still fleeing into the Azovstal plant in an attempt to escape the brutality Russia has been demonstrating in the rest of Mariupol. 

Saturday, Apr 30, 2022 · 9:17:58 PM +00:00

Mark Sumner

Looks like the rumors were true after all. The Ukrainian Army has killed another Russian General. Major General Andrei Simonov was at a forward command post near Izyum when it was hit. He is the 9th Russian general killed so far (or 11th if counting 2 unconfirmed in Kherson).

— Visegrád 24 (@visegrad24) April 30, 2022

Sunday, May 1, 2022 · 12:13:52 AM +00:00

Mark Sumner

There were no notable changes to control over the last 24 hours. 🇷🇺 continues its attempts to take control of Rubizhne and Popasna.

— Ukraine War Map (@War_Mapper) May 1, 2022

Listen to Markos and Kerry Eleveld talk Ukraine and speak with Wisconsin Democratic Party Chair Ben Wikler on how hitting back at Republicans helps win elections on Daily Kos’ The Brief podcast

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