The Washington PostThe Washington Post

Ukrainian refugees in Russia report interrogations, detention and other abuses

By Michael Birnbaum and Mary Ilyushina

11 May 2022 · 7 min read

RIGA, Latvia - Russian authorities are forcing Ukrainians who seek safety to submit to strip searches and interrogations, placing some refugees in guarded camps, stripping them of their vital documents and in some cases forcing them to remain in Russia, according to displaced Ukrainians, volunteers helping refugees, and Ukrainian and Western officials.

At least 1 million Ukrainian civilians have fled the fighting into Russia, according to Russian Defense Ministry numbers that the Ukrainian government also accepts as valid. In many cases, especially in the devastated city of Mariupol, many residents were effectively forced into Russia with no option to seek refuge on friendlier soil. In other cases, especially in the breakaway territories of eastern Ukraine, the travel to Russia was voluntary.

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