Ukrainians flee occupied territories through Russian 'filtration' checks

·1-min read

As Ukrainian counter-offensives gather momentum to win back the city of Kherson, inhabitants in some Russian-occupied territories have been advised to leave. Russian forces are letting them out, but only if they pass time-consuming and stressful checks known as "filtration". FRANCE 24’s correspondents met some of them.

In this reception centre near Zaporizhzhia, many internally displaced Ukrainians have come from the south, fleeing Russian-occupied areas.

"We feel like we’ve crossed into another world. As soon as we crossed we realised that we’re in a free country because here it’s clean. There by the checkpoint it’s so dirty and there are so many Russian soldiers," said Yulia, who just arrived after fleeing the region of Kherson.

People queue at that checkpoint, in cars or buses, for four to five days on average. They have to pass what the Russians call “filtration” before being released into Ukrainian-held territory.

Others say they left mainly because the Ukrainian army asked them to. "They said you’ll be giving us a better chance in the fight here if you evacuate with your children," one woman told our reporters. "Anyway, our kids went to Ukrainian school, and now the Russians are setting up their schools there, with a Russian curriculum – we don’t want that," another woman added.

Most new arrivals of internally displaced people these days are from the Kherson region, but there are still dozens arriving from Mariupol, a city Russia occupied in May after intense bombardment.

Click on the live player above to watch FRANCE 24’s special report.

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