Since the start of the full-scale war, the Russian forces had already deported two million people from Ukraine to the territory of the Russian Federation, said President Volodymyr Zelensky in his address to the participants of the Asian Leadership Conference in Seoul on Wednesday.
"Just imagine this number - two million people. So many of our people have already been taken to Russia. Several hundred thousand children. No one will tell the exact numbers at the moment - all these deported people are deprived of means of communication, their documents are taken away from them, they are intimidated and taken to remote areas of Russia to make it as difficult as possible for them to return to their homeland," Zelensky said.
The President added that tens of thousands of people remain in the so-called filtration camps through which people are forced to pass in the occupied territory. Zelensky emphasized that any attempts at deportation in the modern world must receive "the toughest response from the international community."
The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that as a result of Russian "filtration" operations in Ukraine, about 1.6 million Ukrainians, including 260,000 children, have disappeared, been detained, or forcibly deported from their homes.
On June 26, the Minister of Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories, Iryna Vereshchuk, assured that if Ukrainians deported by the Russian forces manage to reach the border of Ukraine, the border guards will let them through without identity documents.
Now, the Ukrainian side is developing routes for free transport to help Ukrainians who do not have money and documents. The routes will be heading through Estonia and Latvia since most deported Ukrainians are returning home via these countries.