Part of Russia's strategy to exert dominance in this region has allegedly been to remove potential combatants from the area. Petro Andryushchenko, an advisor to the mayor of Mariupol, posted on Telegram that Vladimir Putin's forces have removed roughly 27,000 people from the area and forcibly placed them in "filtration camps." In its past wars with Chechnya in the mid-1990s and early 2000s, Russian forces placed Chechens in mass internment centers, which they refer to as "filtration camps," where the U.S. State Department says the Russians "beat, tortured and executed" detainees.
In response to recent events, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has denied the allegations, saying "such reports are lies." This represents the doubling down of a previous stance offered in late March by state authorities when they said that the almost 420,000 people evacuated from Ukraine at the time were transported to Russia for their own safety.