“Eyewitnesses and survivors of ‘filtration’ operations, detentions and forced deportations report frequent threats, harassment and incidents of torture by Russian security forces,” Mr. Blinken said in a statement.
The exiled mayor of the southern port city of Mariupol, Vadym Boychenko, said last week that there were at least four filtration centers there holding more than 2,000 local people.
He said witnesses had described grim conditions, with “no doctors there to save lives, so many of our Mariupol residents have already died in those prisons.”
A report in the Russian state-owned newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta in March noted the existence of one center in Bezimenne, a village in eastern Ukraine, that was working to stop “Ukrainian nationalists from infiltrating Russia disguised as refugees so they could avoid punishment.”
The Russian Ministry of Defense has framed the deportation of millions of Ukrainians as part of a humanitarian relief effort. According to figures released this week by the ministry, 2,795,965 Ukrainians have been “evacuated” to Russia, including 444,018 children.