UKRAINE (May 6, 2022)—Ukrainian citizens displaced from their homes in regions occupied by Russia and now in the city of Sorokine in the occupied areas of the Luhansk Oblast are being forced to accept passports and citizenship of the pro-Russian separatist-controlled breakaway state the Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR), the Ukrainian Intelligence Directorate (GUR) claimed Friday.
Refusing these passports and LPR citizenship comes with a cost because the Ukrainian citizens will be otherwise deprived of food, medical aid and money – the latter of which is paid in rubles rather than hryvnia.
Due to lacking many essential resources without it, there is essentially no choice for these civilians but to take it.
Mass relocations and displacements have been alleged for quite some time in the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Indeed, the sheer systematic nature of it, as well as allegations of mass rapes and mass killings, are even thought by many to be indicative of a Russian goal of genocide.
“We argue that this is genocide,” Ukrainian human rights NGO ZMINA project coordinator Nadia Dobrianska said of alleged Russian war crimes during the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. “That’s how we see it, because what is going on is mass extermination of Ukrainians on a systemic scale by Russians.”
Earlier reports by the GUR have also indicated that Russian forces plan on using “pseudo-referendums” to legitimize their control over areas of Ukraine under their control.
This also comes along with reports of Russia forcibly mobilizing the residents of these Russian-occupied areas. Forced mobilization had already been reported in the LPR and the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), but other reports indicated it was happening in occupied Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.
This is especially noteworthy for Russia, as thus far, their forces have incurred heavy losses 72 days into the invasion. As such, forced mobilization is an important tool to shore up their ranks.
According to the GUR, most LPR officials have been deployed to combat in the Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson oblasts while hastily assembled recruits have little to no experience.
Source: Michael Starr and Aaron Reich contributed to this report.