Pentagon: Ukrainians ‘being taken against their will into Russia’
'We've long talked about the fact that we do believe Russian soldiers continue to conduct war crimes'
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby confirmed that the US is seeing signs that Ukrainians are being forcibly relocated to Russia during a news briefing on Monday.
“We certainly have seen indications that Ukrainians are being moved from Ukraine into Russia,” the official said, according to a US Defense Department transcript of the conference.
While he said that he could not confirm the number of Ukrainians believed to be forcibly relocated to Russia, the press secretary could verify that Washington observed signs of the phenomenon.
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“I can't speak to how many camps or what they look like. I mean, I don't know that we have that level of detail. But we do have indications that Ukrainians are being taken against their will into Russia,” the official said.
Kirby called the move “unconscionable” and added that it is “not the behavior of [a] responsible power.”
When asked by a reporter if the relocations constitute “ethnic cleansing,” Kirby declined to make the determination regarding the US Defense Department’s official position on the matter.
“That's not a determination that is best coming from the US Defense Department,” he said, but added that “We've long talked about the fact that we do believe Russian soldiers continue to conduct war crimes.”