It’s one of the darker sides of the war: the accusation that Russia has organized detention camps in Ukrainian territory it controls and inside Russia as well. As Grid has reported, hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians are believed to have been brought to these camps since the war began. Documentation and verification of precise sites has been difficult to find.
Now the State Department and Yale University researchers say they have identified at least 21 sites in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine where Russians and Russian-backed Ukrainian separatists are detaining, interrogating or deporting Ukrainian civilians and prisoners of war. The researchers — from the Yale School of Public Health’s Humanitarian Research Lab — said these were part of a “filtration system” and they had found signs of mass graves in some of these areas.
The researchers used commercial satellite imagery and open-source information, and their report identified four types of filtration centers: registration, holding, secondary interrogation and detention. They reported that detainees had been imprisoned for long periods, deported to Russia or even killed. The researchers also noted — as Grid’s reporting had as well — accounts of torture and beatings at some of the compounds.
The new research is a collaboration between Yale and the State Department’s Conflict Observatory program, which is being used to document alleged Russian war crimes and other atrocities.
“We again call on Russia to immediately halt its filtration operations and forced deportations and to provide outside independent observers access to identified facilities and forced deportation relocation areas within Russia-controlled areas of Ukraine and inside Russia itself,” the State Department said in a statement.
Grid’s reporting is based on the best available data and reporting; in some cases, we explained a range of figures or the reason we chose one over another. We originally published this document March 24 and will update it every Thursday as long as the war persists.
Civilians killed: at least 5,600 (probably thousands more)
On June 7, a Ukrainian official said at least 40,000 Ukrainian civilians had been killed or wounded since the war began. The official offered no breakdown of dead versus wounded civilians. The United Nations’ latest estimate of civilians killed is more than 5,600, but it consistently notes the figure is an undercount, as is its estimate of total casualties — a combination of deaths and injuries — given as more than 13,000. (Updated Aug. 31; source.)
Ukrainian soldiers killed: 5,500 to 11,000
Top advisers to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy have estimated that 10,000 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed since the war began. Meanwhile, on Aug. 22, Gen. Valeriy Zaluzhny, Ukraine’s commander-in-chief, said the country had lost about 9,000 troops. U.S. intelligence officials have put the number at 5,500 to 11,000 Ukrainian soldiers killed since the invasion. On June 10, an adviser to Zelenskyy said Ukraine was losing as many as 200 soldiers each day. (Updated Aug. 24; source, source.)
Russian soldiers killed: 1,351 to over 45,000
Ukraine has raised its estimate of Russian soldiers killed in the conflict to more than 45,000. NATO has estimated Russian troop losses at between 7,000 and 15,000. Russian media outlets claimed 5,000 troop losses, though the last updated number of 1,351 deaths from the Russian defense ministry is from March. Russian spokesman Dimitry Peskov said there have been “significant losses of troops, and it’s a huge tragedy for us.” (Updated Aug. 24; source, source, source.)
Russian generals killed: 8 to 13
A retired Russian general was reportedly shot down over Luhansk in late May — by Ukrainian counts, this was the 13th Russian general to be killed in Ukraine. Previously, the Defense Intelligence Agency reported that eight to 10 Russian generals had been killed in Ukraine. Grid’s Tom Nagorski and Joshua Keating previously reported on the possible explanations for this “inconceivable” toll: poor communications and command-and-control structures within the Russian military. (Updated May 25; source, source.)
Total displaced Ukrainians: over 13 million
There are more than 6.8 million Ukrainian refugees reported in other European countries currently. United Nations data indicates more than 11 million Ukrainians have crossed the border since the start of the war, but millions have returned home, largely from Poland, as Nikhil Kumar and Kseniia Lisnycha reported. The International Organization for Migration’s latest survey of internally displaced Ukrainians, in late August, found more Ukrainians returning home from within Ukraine, but more than 6.9 million remained displaced within their own country. (Updated Aug. 31; source; source.)
Internally displaced Ukrainians: 6.9 million
An overview of the violence
Global food markets: Wheat prices decrease 11 percent since invasion, after weeks of fluctuation
Recent Grid coverage
- Are the Putin-backed dictators in Belarus and Kazakhstan in his corner for the Ukraine War? It’s complicated. (Aug. 30)
- Why Crimea matters: Ukrainian attacks are frightening Russian tourists and forcing Russia’s army to change tactics (Aug. 26)
- The situation at the captured Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Ukraine just got way more dangerous (Aug. 25)
- Six months into the war in Ukraine, Russian media has a new message: ‘Either we win or World War III begins’ (Aug. 24)