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MEPs condemn 'deportations' of Ukrainians on same day as memorial of Soviet victims

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By Alberto De Filippis
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Soviet deportations being commemorated outside the European Parliament in Brussels, Tuesday 14 June 2022.
Soviet deportations being commemorated outside the European Parliament in Brussels, Tuesday 14 June 2022.   -   Copyright  Euronews

Members of the European Parliament have condemned what they call the mass deportation of thousands of Ukranian citizens to Russia, as they remembered the victims of the same Soviet actions years ago.

Part demonstration, part memorial, the event outside the EU institution in Brussels was organised to raise awareness of the issue.

One of the MEPs who organised the event says the Kremlin is not even trying to hide its actions.

"The Russians themselves, they are not hiding this," Rasa Juknevičienė told Euronews. "They are telling the stories that they replaced many thousands, hundreds of thousands Ukrainians, including children without their parents and they are adopting them. They are about to have new Russians".

In June 1941, the Soviet Union forcibly uprooted thousands of people from territories that it occupied, including Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland.

The demonstrators say Moscow is doing exactly the same thing more than 80 years later.

Juozas Olekas, a former Lithuanian MEP, warned Euronews of the dangers of allowing the Kremlin to once again do the same thing in Ukraine.

"This is very unbelievable that this is happening nowadays. But it is very dangerous to forget about this aggression, about this brutality," Olekas said.

"People from Ukraine are suffering in the deportation camps in very different places in Russia. I am feeling from my heart that it is really dangerous for the future of Europe if we allow to use that brutality in Europe. Today in Ukraine, maybe tomorrow in Italy. Who knows?"

Moscow claims that at least one million Ukrainians have chosen to move to Russia since the invasion began on 24 February. 

Kyiv, however, says that these people have been forcibly uprooted from their country.