Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday imposed martial law in the four regions of Ukraine illegally annexed by the Kremlin’s forces, against the backdrop of mass deportations of Ukrainians to Russia and as Moscow lays the ground for further losses of territory.
Kremlin-backed authorities in the Ukrainian city of Kherson are planning to “relocate” about 50,000 to 60,000 people to Russian territory, the Moscow-installed regional governor Vladimir Saldo said in a television interview Tuesday.
Ivan Fedorov, the Ukrainian mayor of Melitopol in the Zaporizhzhia region, called this “a new manifestation of genocide in the occupied territories,” adding that Russia is preparing a “forcible deportation of an entire city” while claiming “to protect people from hostilities” in an attempt to create an outpost of the “Russian world” in the south of Ukraine.
Similar mass forced deportations have been reported in the other areas of Ukraine under Russian control, with the Kremlin-installed authorities seemingly focused particularly on displacing Ukrainian children.
Under international humanitarian law, forced mass deportation of people during an armed conflict is considered a war crime. “Forcibly transferring children” is classified as genocide under the Genocide Convention of 1948, which banned attempts to destroy national, ethnic, racial or religious groups in the wake of the Holocaust. [Continue reading…]