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Multiple prisons targeted in Russian assault, Ukraine officials say

Apartments destroyed by shelling.
Associated Press/Andrew Marienko
An apartment building was destroyed by shelling in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on Sunday, March 13, 2022.

Ukraine’s Ministry of Justice said that at least five prisons have been attacked by Moscow’s forces in the besieged country. 

Damage, largely caused by shelling, has been reported at prisons in Mariupol, Berdiansk, Chernihiv and Kharkiv, The New York Times reported, citing a Monday announcement from the ministry.

The ministry also said that a total of 33 prisons are in active conflict zones. It is unclear exactly how many people are detained at those prisons, but roughly 48,000 people are incarcerated throughout the country, the Times added.

Ahead of Moscow’s unprovoked military invasion of Ukraine, Vadym Pyvovarov, who leads the Association of Ukrainian Human Rights Monitors on Law Enforcement, voiced concern and urged preparations to be made in the event of a need to evacuate prisoners, the newspaper reported. 

“Most of the staff do not know what to do should emergency evacuations be needed,” Pyvovarov said, adding that prisoners, like all other citizens, are “entitled to the protection of the state in times of peace like in times of a military emergency.”

At the time, Pyvovarov said he had taken the issue up with local prison authorities, but protections were still lacking.

“The provision of transport for prisoners remains the responsibility of local authorities, who — as is understandable — would be primarily concerned with the protection and evacuation of state employees and their families, followed by the rest of the civilian population,” Pyvovarov added.

Since the invasion began on Feb. 24, roughly 10 million Ukrainians have been displaced either within the country or are now living as refugees abroad.  

Tags bombardment invasion Prison Russia Ukraine UKRAINE RUSSIA
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