Russia’s devastating war of aggression against Ukraine continues to exact a human toll on the Ukrainian people.
“There are now 5.9 million internally displaced people in Ukraine who have been driven from their homes this year,” noted Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Uzra Zeya in a recent briefing. More than 7.8 million have fled the country as refugees.
As the harshness of winter descends, millions of Ukrainians have been without power, water, or heat because of Russia’s unrelenting attacks on civilian infrastructure.
In addition, Russia’s filtration operations and forced deportations of Ukrainians continue to create horrifying consequences, including the transnational kidnapping and forced adoption of as many as 11,000 Ukrainian children.
“It’s hard to overstate the fear and suffering of more than a million civilians subjected to the Kremlin’s horrific filtration operations,” said Under Secretary Zeya. “Filtration survivors recount threats, harassments, and incidents of torture by Russia’s security forces and their proxies in southern and eastern Ukraine. They’ve had their biometric data captured, identification documents confiscated, and means of communication cut off.”
The United States is taking steps to hold Russia to account for the atrocities and abuses they continue to perpetrate in Ukraine. “We’ve deployed teams of international investigators and prosecutors to assist Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office in documenting, preserving, and preparing war crimes cases for prosecution,” noted Under Secretary Zeya.
The State Department-supported Conflict Observatory program independently captures, analyzes, and makes public evidence of war crimes and other atrocities in Ukraine committed by Russia and Russian-backed forces. Recently, the Conflict Observatory published analysis of Russia’s unrelenting targeting of the energy infrastructure in Ukraine, which aims to deprive civilians of heat and electricity during this frigid winter.
The Conflict Observatory has also detailed the experiences of hundreds of individuals who describe being victims, survivors, or witnesses of torture or other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment. “Tragically, these are only illustrative examples of the immense and catastrophic scale of damage wrought,” said Under Secretary Zeya.
The United States and its allies and partners in Europe and around the world will continue to stand with Ukraine and its people. As Secretary Blinken declared, “Our collective resolve to support Ukraine is and will continue to be ironclad, now, throughout the [war], and for as long as it takes for Ukraine to succeed.”