Almost 1.1 million people have been evacuated from Ukraine to Russian territory since the invasion began on February 24, Russian officials said on Tuesday.
Of that figure, almost 200,000 are children, according to Russia’s defense ministry.
Russian authorities said thousands of people have been evacuated in the past 24 hours from “danger areas.”
“In the past 24 hours, 11,550 people, including 1,847 children, have been evacuated from danger areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, Ukraine to Russian territory without the involvement of Ukrainian authorities,” said Russian Colonel-General, Mikhail Mizintsev.
There is no way to verify the ministry’s data on evacuations. Ukrainian officials have repeatedly said that thousands of citizens are being deported to Russia forcibly.
Some background: A CNN investigation in April revealed that Russian forces and allied separatist soldiers were taking Mariupol residents to a so-called “filtration center” set up in Bezimenne, where they were registered before being sent on to Russia — many against their will. Ukrainian government and local Mariupol officials say that tens of thousands of Ukrainian citizens have been forcibly deported to the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and Russia since the war began.
CNN spoke with two people who were brought to Bezimenne before being sent to Russia. They described a massive military tent, where Russian and DPR soldiers were processing hundreds of people — they were fingerprinted, photographed, their phones searched, interrogated, passports reviewed and registered into databases.
Read the full CNN investigation here: