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Ukrainian prisoners, potentially numbering in the thousands, taken to Russia
Russian soldiers retreating from Ukraine’s Kherson region took Ukrainian prisoners to dozens of prison colonies within Russian territory, according to Sirena, a publication from Alexey Navalny’s team. The Sirena report cites their own data and information from the organizations Russia Behind Bars and Gulagu.net.
Relatives of Ukrainian prisoners told Sirena that in May, prisoners in the Kherson and Mykolaiv regions were transferred to IK-7 in Stara Zburivka, about 50 kilometers (around 30 miles) from Kherson. Two weeks before the Russian retreat from Kherson, in November, Russian soldiers started transporting prisoners to penal colonies in Russia.
Prisoners’ relatives also said that Russians initially set up three prison colonies in the Krasnodar and Volgograd regions, where they brought around 2,500 Ukrainian citizens.
Human rights activists have reported Ukrainian prisoners in the Vladimir region. Sirena published a map showing the locations of 10 penal colonies where Ukrainian prisoners were allegedly taken. The majority are located in the Krasnodar region. Activists have received several reports that Russians plan to distribute Ukrainian prisoners to colonies throughout Russia within a month.
Vladimir Osechkin, the head of Gulagu.net, said that Russians treat Ukrainian prisoners arriving at Russian penal colonies harshly, including using stun guns against them. According to Osechkin, a special department within Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service deals with Ukrainians, and they are isolated from Russian prisoners.
Earlier in November, online publication Agentstvo reported that inmates at correctional facilities in the Belgorod and Rostov regions, on the border with Ukraine, were being transferred to colonies in different Russian regions. The publication cited three lawyers whose clients are serving out sentences in border regions.
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After Russian troops’ withdrawal from Kherson, Ihor Klymenko, head of the Ukrainian National Police, said that the Russian army had released 457 inmates from detention during the course of the retreat. He said 166 of them had been detained by November 15.
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