Ukraine officials say Russians are taking “hundreds of thousands” of civilians who have been displaced from their war torn homes and forcibly taking them to Russia. Many are reportedly being used as “hostages” in an attempt to pressure Ukraine to give in and give up.
In an astounding statement, Lyudmyla Denisova, Ukraine’s ombudsperson, said 402,000 people, including 84,000 children, had been taken to Russia. The information could very well be accurate, as the Kremlin gave “nearly identical numbers for those who have been relocated” reports the Associated Press.
However, Russia is saying the number is a result of individuals wanting to move to Russia; not that they are forcibly being taken. “Ukraine’s rebel-controlled eastern regions are predominantly Russian-speaking, and many people there have supported close ties to Moscow” adds the AP.
The rhetorical games Russia is playing is vast. Playing the martyr, “Russia said it will offer safe passage starting Friday to 67 ships from 15 foreign countries that are stranded in Ukrainian ports because of the danger of shelling and mines.”
However, “Kyiv and Moscow gave conflicting accounts, meanwhile, about the people being relocated to Russia and whether they were going willingly — as Russia claimed — or were being coerced or lied to” writes the AP.
The Associated Press reports of the conflicting information:
Russian Col. Gen. Mikhail Mizintsev said the roughly 400,000 people evacuated to Russia since the start of the military action were from the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Moscow separatists have been fighting for control for nearly eight years.
Russian authorities said they are providing accommodations and dispensing payments to the evacuees.
But Donetsk Region Gov. Pavlo Kyrylenko said that “people are being forcibly moved into the territory of the aggressor state.” Denisova said those removed by Russian troops included a 92-year-old woman in Mariupol who was forced to go to Taganrog in southern Russia.
Ukrainian officials said that the Russians are taking people’s passports and moving them to “filtration camps” in Ukraine’s separatist-controlled east before sending them to various distant, economically depressed areas in Russia.
Among those taken, Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry charged, were 6,000 residents of Mariupol, the devastated port city in the country’s east. Moscow’s troops are confiscating identity documents from an additional 15,000 people in a section of Mariupol under Russian control, the ministry said.
Some could be sent as far as the Pacific island of Sakhalin, Ukrainian intelligence said, and are being offered jobs on condition they don’t leave for two years. The ministry said the Russians intend to “use them as hostages and put more political pressure on Ukraine.”
Kyrylenko said that Mariupol’s residents have been long deprived of information and that the Russians feed them false claims about Ukraine’s defeats to persuade them to move to Russia.
“Russian lies may influence those who have been under the siege,” he said.
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The Guardian Removes Osama bin Laden’s “Letter to America” Amidst Viral Resurfacing
The Guardian, a left-wing media outlet, has taken down Osama bin Laden’s notorious “Letter to America” from its website this week after the words of the deceased terrorist mastermind, responsible for the attacks on September 11, 2001, gained traction on social media.
The letter, which had been published on The Guardian’s website since 2002, resurfaced online, causing a sudden spike in traffic. Social media users unearthed and shared the anti-American and antisemitic content, propelling the document to viral status. The Guardian, acknowledging the increased circulation without the full context, opted to remove the transcript.
According to reports from Fox News Digital, a spokesperson for The Guardian stated, “The transcript published on our website 20 years ago has been widely shared on social media without the full context. Therefore we have decided to take it down and direct readers to the news article that originally contextualized it instead.” The outlet declined to provide additional comments on the matter.
Osama bin Laden’s letter, translated into English, justified al-Qaeda’s attacks against the U.S. by citing American actions in Palestine. The deceased terrorist accused the U.S. of supporting the creation and continuation of Israel, labeling it one of the “greatest crimes” that must be erased. Bin Laden’s letter also propagated antisemitic tropes, claiming Jews control American policies, media, and the economy.
The 9/11 attacks, orchestrated by al-Qaeda, resulted in the deaths of nearly 3,000 people and left thousands more injured. The letter’s resurgence occurred as it was shared by social media influencers on platforms like TikTok, with some expressing a change in perspective. Pro-Palestinian activist Lynette Adkins was among those who shared the letter online, prompting discussions and reflections.
The Guardian’s decision to remove the letter from its website underscores the sensitivity surrounding the content and its potential impact, particularly as young individuals across America engage with pro-Palestinian talking points. The episode has sparked debates about the influence of social media in reshaping perceptions and the responsibility of media outlets in disseminating controversial historical documents.
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