Foreign Secretary ‘appalled’ after reports Ukrainians ‘abducted’ by Russia

A Ukrainian MP said citizens were being sent to ‘distant parts of Russia’ to work without payment.

20 March 2022

The Foreign Secretary said she is “appalled” at the alleged “abduction and deportation” of Ukrainians amid reports captives are being shipped to forced-labour camps in Russia.

With Ukrainian city Mariupol under constant siege by Russian troops, there have been suggestions from Ukraine MPs that Moscow has deported some citizens to “distant parts of Russia” to work without payment in a move reminiscent of tactics used by the Nazis and the Soviet Union.

Liz Truss condemned the “Russian atrocities” in the south-east port city, pledging that President Vladimir Putin would be “held to account”.

Elsewhere, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in a phone call with the Ukrainian president on Sunday afternoon, told Volodymyr Zelensky the UK was “committed to stepping up military, economic and diplomatic support” in a bid to bring about an end to the war.

Ms Truss, taking to social media, tweeted: “I am appalled by Russian atrocities in Mariupol, including attacks on schools sheltering civilians and the abduction and deportation of Ukrainians.

“Putin is resorting to desperate measures as he is not achieving his objectives.

“Putin and his regime will be held to account.”

The reports that thousands of Mariupol’s residents have been abducted remains unverified, but Ukrainian MP Inna Sovsun said that, according to information being shared by the city’s authorities, her countrymen and women were effectively being forced into slave labour.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine
The Russian invasion of Ukraine (PA Graphics)

She told Times Radio: “The very logic of Russia right now is the logic of the Soviet Union and the logic of Nazi Germany.

“It is a completely totalitarian state, and it is acting as one.

“So, from what we know from the city mayor and the city council, is they are taking Ukrainian citizens.

“They are sending them through what are called the ‘filtration camps’ and then they are being relocated to very distant parts of Russia, where they are being forced to sign papers (saying) that they will stay in that area for two or three years and they will work for free in those areas.”

Put to her that what she was describing was “effectively slave labour”, Ms Sovsun replied: “It is, yes.”

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