Ukrainian prisoners taken to Russia were detained immediately after they left the colony

April 1, 2023

A group of Ukrainian prisoners who were taken out of Ukraine before the retreat of the Russian military in the Kherson region and finished serving their sentence in Russia were detained for violating the migration regime immediately after leaving the Russian colony, writes The New York Times.

As former prisoners told the newspaper, after the expiration of their prison term, they were released from Russian colonies. But some were almost immediately detained and charged with violating immigration laws.

Ukrainian prisoners were transported to Russia through the Crimea. According to four of them, in the transit prison the guards beat them, some of them unconscious.

In Russian prisons, some prisoners were offered a Russian passport, but most Ukrainians refused, the newspaper writes. In the colonies where the interlocutors of the newspaper were imprisoned, there were Wagner PMC recruiters, but they did not offer the Ukrainians to fight.

According to the newspaper, a group of 14 former prisoners were driven almost 1,500 kilometers in a paddy wagon to the border with Latvia. At the border, the Latvian immigration authorities issued a piece of paper to the Ukrainians, which read in Ukrainian: “In these difficult times, the Republic of Latvia and its people are ready with an open heart to accept the citizens of Ukraine.” But almost immediately the group was blocked by the country’s special forces and escorted back to Russia.

Later, UnMode managed to smuggle the former prisoners to Georgia, and from there a group of 16 people reached Ukraine. Some of the men were interrogated by the Ukrainian security services upon their return, suspecting them of collaborationism.