An official website of the United States Government Here's how you know

Official websites use .gov

A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS

A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.
Servicemen of Donetsk People's Republic inspect a vehicle at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Mariupol, the territory which is under the Government of the Donetsk People's Republic control. AP Photo

Russia’s Filtration Operations and Forced Relocations

Filtration operations often result in forced deportations of Ukrainians to Russia, detentions, and other abuses.

Russian officials and proxy authorities in Russia-controlled areas of Ukraine are undertaking a monumental effort to “filter” the population as a means of suppressing Ukrainian resistance and enforcing loyalty among the remaining population.

The United States condemns Russia’s “filtration” operations, forced deportations, and disappearances in Russia-controlled areas of Ukraine in which Russia’s forces and proxies have interrogated, detained, and forcibly deported Ukrainian, according to a broad range of sources, between 900,000 and 1.6 million Ukrainian citizens, including thousands of children. 

Ukrainian citizens are being taken to filtration camps in a concerted effort to suppress their resistance. Many Ukrainian citizens are facing forced deportations, arbitrary detentions, and torture and other abuses.

While at filtration camps, Ukrainian citizens are often strip-searched for “nationalistic” tattoos, photographed, and have their fingerprints taken. Ukrainian citizens have had their passports confiscated and their cell phones searched, with Russia’s forces sometimes downloading their contact lists.

Russia almost certainly is subjecting Ukrainian civilians in occupied areas to so-called filtration operations. Individuals face one of three fates after undergoing filtration, which include being issued documentation and remaining in Russian-occupied Ukraine, forcefully deported to Russia, or detained in prisons in eastern Ukraine or Russia. This map shows that Ukrainians are being gathered for filtration from areas in eastern Ukraine, then sent to filtration operations in eastern Ukrainian cities such as Donetsk, Nikolske, and Novoazovsk. Filtration also occurs within Russia, such as in Taganrog. Some Ukrainians are sent to cities in western Russia, such as Pskov, Belgorod, Vladimir, and Omsk, while others can be sent much further east, as far as Vladivostok and Sakhalin.

There is evidence that Russia’s forces have interrogated, detained, and forcibly deported to Russia an estimated hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian citizens, including unaccompanied children, from their homes, often sending them to remote regions in Russia.

The United States has information that officials from Russia’s Presidential Administration are overseeing and coordinating filtration operations. Russia is also using advanced technology to facilitate filtration processes, including for the purposes of collecting data on Ukrainian citizens undergoing filtration.

Infographic: HOW RUSSIA'S FILTRATION PROCESS IN UKRAINE OPERATES: Individuals are detained and taken to filtration waypoints, or stopped at filtration checkpoints. Individuals are temporarily detained and evaluated for their perceived threat. DETENTION: Those deemed most threatening are probably detained and imprisoned in eastern Ukraine or Russia. Little is known about their fates. FORCED DEPORTATION: Those deemed less threatening but still hostile are probably forcibly deported to Russia. DOCUMENTATION: Those deemed nonthreatening are probably either issued documentation and permitted to remain in Ukraine or forcibly deported to Russia.
Text-only Version

As part of this effort, the United States has information that over the course of July, more than 1,800 children were reported to have been transferred from Russia-controlled areas of Ukraine to Russia.  Once in Russia, some reports indicate that children undergo psychological “rehabilitation” and are forced to complete unspecified educational projects.

Infographic: Russia and its proxies are conducting filtration operations in Russia-controlled Ukrainian territory, interrogating, abusing, and sometimes deporting, indefinitely detaining, or killing people they perceive as opposed to their control

Thousands of Ukrainian children were reported to have been transferred to Russia. Once in Russia, some reports indicate that Ukrainian children undergo what Russia refers to as psychological “rehabilitation” and are forced to complete unspecified educational projects. 

Some of these children have no identity documents or information on the location of their parents. As part of this forced deportation, plans are being developed to place orphaned Ukrainian children with foster families in Russia, in collaboration with other executive agencies in the Russian government.

Children have been evacuated from Mariupol to Russia-controlled areas of Ukraine, and then to Russia. Some children lack any identity documents or information on the location or whereabouts of their parents. 

To facilitate the forced deportation and resettlement of children, officials in Russia-controlled areas of Ukraine are developing administrative arrangements to place orphans with  families in Russia, in collaboration with Russian executive agencies.

Separately, as of July, Russian officials reportedly forced prisoners in a Russia-held area of Ukraine to apply for Russian citizenship.  Prisoners who refused to apply were subjected to physical and psychological abuse.

The United States supports all international efforts to examine mounting evidence of atrocities and other abuses in Ukraine, including fact-finding missions conducted by the International Criminal Court, the United Nations, the Experts Missions established by invocation of the OSCE’s Moscow Mechanism, and other efforts. We also support a wide range of documentation initiatives that can support such investigations.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future