The Slatest

U.S. Says Russia Has Hitlist of Ukrainians to Kill or Detain After Invasion

Servicemen of Ukrainian Military Forces walk along tranches on their position on the front line with Russia backed separatists, near Novognativka village, Donetsk region on February 21, 2022.
Servicemen of Ukrainian Military Forces walk along tranches on their position on the front line with Russia backed separatists, near Novognativka village, Donetsk region on February 21, 2022. ANATOLII STEPANOV/Getty Images

The United States has warned the United Nations it has “credible information” that Russia is getting a list together of Ukrainians “to be killed or sent to camps following military occupation,” according to a letter sent to the U.N. human rights chief. The letter, which was first reported by the Washington Post and later confirmed by others, says Moscow plans to carry out a variety of human rights violations in Ukraine that would involve “widespread human suffering.”

The United States did not detail the intelligence that led to this “credible information” but did point out that past Russian operations “have included targeted killings, kidnappings/forced disappearances, unjust detentions, and the use of torture,” reads the letter addressed to Michelle Bachelet, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights. Targets are likely to include dissidents from Russia and Belarus who are living in Ukraine, journalists, anti-corruption activists, and “vulnerable populations such as religious and ethnic minorities and LGBTQI+ persons,” reads the letter signed by Bathsheba Nell Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations office in Geneva. Beyond the list, the United States also warned Russian troops are likely to use “lethal measures to disperse peaceful protests.”

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The Kremlin immediately pushed back against the letter, insisting no such list exists. “Do you realize that this is an absolute canard, a lie? It is absolute fiction. There is no such list. It’s a fake,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on a call with journalists. Russia has vehemently denied that it plans to invade Ukraine and has accused Washington and other Western governments of spreading misinformation. President Joe Biden and other members of his administration have said that intelligence indicates Russia has already decided to invade as it has amassed around 150,000 troops near Ukraine’s border.

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