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Ukraine Crisis

Migrants and asylum seekers remain locked up near front lines

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Human Rights Watch said, on Friday, noted concern over Migrants and asylum seekers locked up in a migrant detention centre in Mykolaiv on the edge of the front lines in southern Ukraine. 

Ukraine should urgently release the dozens of migrants and asylum seekers …… and allow them to reach safety in neighbouring countries.

Nadia Hardman, refugee and migrant rights researcher at Human Rights Watch notes that the detainees are terrified of being kept in immigration detention during the war.  

Detainees are terrified and in danger, and there is no justification for keeping them in.

In April, Human Rights Watch conducted multiple interviews with the detainees of two detention centres in Ukraine. 

The interviewees from both the centre noted that they had been detained months prior to the Russian invasion.

Irrespective of the reason, the Human Rights Watch says,

their continued detention is arbitrary and places them at risk of harm from military hostilities

On March 9 and April 20, Human Rights Watch wrote to the Ukrainian authorities about the situation but has not received a response.

The Global Detention Project, in March, reported that migrants and asylum seekers were taken out of the Chernihiv Temporary Holding Center.

Chernihiv centre’s deputy director, Borys Kryvov later told Human Rights Watch that the facility after being emptied was hit by munitions. The damage was limited; shattered windows and roof.

This, however, emphasises the urgent need of evacuating people from Zhuravychi and Mykolaiv centres.

Failed attempt at giving freedom

Interviewees in both, Zhuravychi and Mykolaiv centres said guards told them they could leave the facilities if they joined the Ukrainian war effort.

The guards also promised that they would be granted Ukrainian citizenship and documentation if they joined.

However, none of the detainees accepted the offer.

Witnesses of the war

People in both facilities have felt terrified of being locked up in a war zone. 

Due to its proximity to the Belarusian border, people in Zhuravychi centre heard explosions and artillery fire.

Similarly, the detainees at Mykolaiv facility could hear and see military planes flying over the detention facility and the sounds of explosions and artillery at regular intervals.

In a text message to Human Rights Watch on April 28, one man at the facility said,

I lost hope … I think death is very close.

All the interviewees noted that they wished to leave as soon as possible and seek refuge in neighbouring countries. 

Few people from both the facilities have been released and evacuated to Poland with the aid and assistance of their embassies.

Need for urgent Assistance

Verification of Identity and travel documents from the embassies might be needed for detainees from third countries.

However, this might also result in delayed releases of the detainees at both centres.

According to diplomatic sources, all released detainees formerly at Chernihiv have crossed the border out of Ukraine. They were released right after the danger became evident.

The European Union has funded Ukraine’s border control and migration management programs to construct the perimeter security systems at Zhuravychi migrant detention centre.

The aim was to stop the flow of migrants and asylum seekers into the EU by shifting the responsibility to the EU’s neighbouring countries, in this case, Ukraine.

As the EU aids Ukrainian refugees, the migrants and asylum seekers still await assistance to get out of danger in Ukraine.

 

Shreya Vats contributed to the story

Ukraine Crisis

Zelensky addresses the U.N. as protests break out in Russia

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Zelensky addresses the U.N. as protests over Putin’s mobilisation plan break out in Russia

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses the U.N. General Assembly in New York.

Zelensky says his nation just wants peace and believes Russia should be punished and ostracised for its actions.

“A crime has been committed against Ukraine and we demand just punishment. The crime was committed against our state borders. The crime was committed against the lives of our people,” Zelensky said. “Ukraine demands punishment for trying to steal our territory”.

In the powerful speech, the Ukrainian President also called for Russia to lose its U.N. veto power. Russia is currently one of the five permanent members of the Security Council.

He is also seeking more military aid, pleading for more weapons to help liberate his country’s land.

Protests engulf major Russia cities

In Russia, police have arrested hundreds of protestors who are rallying against Vladimir Putin’s military mobilisation.

Human rights group OVD Info estimates more than 1,000 people have been taken into custody so far. The largest number of arrests were made in St Petersburg and Moscow.

As the Kremlin announced its intention to call up thousands of extra troops to fight the warn in Ukraine, flights departing Russia sold out almost immediately.

The mobilisation will likely see at least 300,000 military reservists drafted to bolster Russia’s forces.

In Moscow, the prosecutor’s office is warning that calls on the internet to join protests, or participation in these protests, could result in up to 15 years in jail time.

Russia’s disinformation laws about the war have made public demonstrations rare.

In his first national televised address since the war began, Putin said he will use “all available means” to protect Russian territory.

In theory, this could include nuclear weapons.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says the alliance remains vigilant.

“We will make sure that there is no misunderstanding in Moscow about exactly how we will react. Of course it depends upon what kind of situation or what kind or weapons they may use. The most important thing is to prevent that from happening and that is why we have been so clear in our communications with Russia about the unprecedented consequences,” Stoltenberg said.

Meanwhile, Putin’s mobilisation follows weeks of heavy losses for Russia in Ukraine, with Kyiv recapturing a huge area just east of Kharkiv.

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Ukraine Crisis

U.S. to provide Ukraine with tanks in the future

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U.S. to provide Ukraine with tanks in the future, but there is a catch

The U.S. will provide tanks to Ukraine in the future, but issues with maintenance and training may delay the rollout.

Ukraine has received billions of dollars worth of weapons and military equipment, allowing the war-torn nation to defend itself against Putin’s regime.

Russian forces are continuing to “conduct airstrikes that are impacting civilian infrastructure”, most recently striking a “dam near Kryvyi Rih”, according to a top U.S. official.

“This disturbing pattern which includes strikes that hit power stations last week continues to show Russian forces’ disregard for civilian life,” the official added.

When it comes to further military aid, the offical confirmed tanks are “absolutely on the table”, but are not an option for the immediate battle.

Once training, maintenance and sustainment issues are addressed, the roll out is more likely.

This follows verified reports Ukraine has successfully shot down 55 Russian
fighter jets.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed there would be no let-up in fighting to regain
territory lost to Russia.

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Ukraine Crisis

Mass burial site discovered in Ukraine

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A mass grave with over 400 bodies has been found in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region

The price of war is beginning to reveal itself in Ukraine as a mass grave, with over 400 bodies has been discovered in the recently liberated Kharkiv region.

The burial site was found in the city of Izyum, an area captured by Russian forces at the beginning of the war, and a victim to ultimate brutality.

Over recent days, Ukrainian forces have recaptured the area. So far, they have discovered over 1000 bodies in the city, with this number rising every day.

The mass grave site shows the extent of Russia’s atrocities, although Russia denies responsibility.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is launching an investigation and says “Russia leaves death everywhere and it must be held accountable for that.”

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