The Commons Foreign Committee should consider expanding its inquiry into hostage taking to consider reports Ukrainians have been transported to Russia via “filtration camps”, its chairman has said.
Tom Tugendhat acknowledged the committee began its investigation into “state level hostage situations” thinking of “people like Nazanin (Zaghari-Ratcliffe)”, who recently returned to Britain after being detained in Iran for nearly six years.
But sharing reports that over 674,000 Ukrainians have been moved to Russia since the war began, the Tory MP said: “Reading this we should think about expanding our inquiry.”
The figure, which has been attributed to Russian officials, was tweeted by historian Dr Peter Caddick-Adams, who said: “(Russia) claims that they were transported voluntarily. (Ukraine) says the process was involuntary, via ‘filtration camps’ where documents were stolen, prior to forced removal to Russia.”
Mr Tugendhat quoted the tweet with the caption: “We began an @CommonsForeign inquiry on hostage taking as foreign policy thinking of people like Nazanin (Zaghari-Ratcliffe). Reading this we should think about expanding our inquiry.”
We began an @CommonsForeign inquiry on hostage taking as foreign policy thinking of people like Nazanin Zaghari Radcliffe. Reading this we should think about expanding our inquiry. https://t.co/mJL3Z3gSgp https://t.co/opN4oJ8Yud
— Tom Tugendhat (@TomTugendhat) April 18, 2022
It comes after Foreign Secretary Liz Truss last month condemned the “abduction and deportation” of Ukrainians from the besieged city of Mariupol.
A Ukrainian MP claimed at the time that her countrymen and women were being forced to relocate to “distant parts of Russia” to work in conditions akin to slave labour.
The Foreign Secretary said she was “appalled” by the reports and vowed for Russian president Vladimir Putin to be “held to account” for his treatment of civilians during the invasion.
Speaking to Times Radio, Ukrainian MP Inna Sovsun said that, according to information being shared by the port’s mayor, citizens were effectively being “relocated” by Moscow.
“From what we know from the city mayor and the city council, is they are taking Ukrainian citizens,” she said.
“They are sending them through what are called the ‘filtration camps’ and then they are being relocated to very distant parts of Russia, where they are being forced to sign papers (saying) that they will stay in that area for two or three years and they will work for free in those areas.”