September 26, 2022

Balkan Travellers

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A Ukrainian serviceman stands near the wreck of a Russian tank on the front line in the Kyiv region, Ukraine, on March 28.

Russia says it will significantly reduce its military offensive on Kyiv and Chernihiv

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he was not aware of the disappearances of Ukrainian journalists and activists, or reports of officials detained in Russian-controlled territory in Ukraine.

Peskov’s comments come after CNN It reported that local Ukrainian officials have been arrested, journalists and members of civil society have disappeared and are still missing..

Commenting on CNN’s reports, Peskov said the Kremlin was not aware of such cases, but said they should be carefully examined individually.

“It’s very important to consider every specific case, every name and surname,” Peskov told CNN. “No one called us [about it] “We have no such information,” he added.

In addition to CNN’s reporting, the United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (HRMMU) said dozens of Ukrainians, including local officials, activists and journalists, are being arbitrarily detained and subjected to enforced disappearance.

At least 45 civilian detentions have been recorded by the Human Resources Management Unit since the war began on February 24, according to a spokesperson for the Human Resources Management Unit.

On Monday, the mission said it had so far documented 24 cases of arrests of local officials over the conflict in regions occupied by Russia, 13 of whom were later released.

Its observers also recorded the disappearance of 21 journalists, civil society activists, demonstrators and civilians, who “openly opposed the invasion in the Kyiv, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhia regions.”

Some of the disappeared were taken during protests against the Russian invasion or for public expressions of support for Ukraine.

A handful were later released, the spokesperson said, although the mission is still verifying the exact numbers.

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The spokesman said, “The information regarding the number of released individuals is pending verification. The multinational human resources management unit has received many complaints about the missing civilian persons, which are also awaiting confirmation.”

“There are reasons to believe that some of them may also have been detained and may have been subjected to enforced disappearance,” they added.

Families are often denied any information on the fate of detainees. Many are often too terrified to speak out about the disappearance of their relatives, fearing that it will lead to a backlash against them or their loved ones.