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More than 400,000 Ukrainians 'forcibly displaced to Russia', claims Ukraine's ombudswoman

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By Shona Murray
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Ukrainian ombudswoman for human rights Lyudmila Denisova speaks to relatives of Ukrainian sailors outside a courtroom in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, July 17, 2019
Ukrainian ombudswoman for human rights Lyudmila Denisova speaks to relatives of Ukrainian sailors outside a courtroom in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, July 17, 2019   -   Copyright  Alexander Zemlianichenko/The Associated Press

More than 400,000 Ukrainians have been forcibly displaced to Russia since the start of the war, Ukraine's ombudswoman has told Euronews.

Lyudmila Denisova, who has responsibility in Ukraine's parliament for monitoring human rights abuses, said her country is collecting evidence of alleged Russian war crimes.

She was in Brussels to discuss atrocities taking place in her country and said Ukrainians are being forced into Russia on a mass scale.

"Our citizens were deported from our territory to their territory," she said. "They went against their will they were taken by force first to [a] filtration camp in Donetsk region.

"After that they were taken to Russia by bus. Then they are taken by train to different places, including depressive regions of the Russian federation, like Sakhalin."

Denisova said that in more than a month of war, there has not been one viable humanitarian corridor.

She also accused Russia of stealing the uniforms of Ukrainian soldiers and using them to commit crimes, as well as saying that what is happening in Mariupol is genocidal.

“The situation in Mairupol is difficult and it’s not changing. Most of the buildings are destroyed by bombs and shelling. More than 20,000 inhabitants have been killed," Denisova said.

The UN coordinator for Ukraine has described the situation in Mariupol as “hell”, with civilians coming under constant threat of violence and lacking any access to food or water.

Russian President Vladimir Putin told his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron that the shelling will continue until Mariupol surrenders.