Putin’s Shutter Island where Ukrainians sent to remote workcamps and can’t leave
Vladimir Putin has reportedly sent over 500,000 Ukrainians to a remote corner of Russia and barred them from leaving as he looks to strengthen his control over the war-torn country.
According to Ukraine’s Permanent Representative to the UN Sergiy Kyslytsya, more than 500,000 Ukrainians, including 121,000 children have been “forcibly transferred” to Russia.
One of the places the Ukrainians have been sent is to the isolated industrial island of Sakhalin on Russia's far eastern territory, which resembles Shutter Island in all but name.
Famed for its brutal winters and unforgiving terrain, the stronghold is every bit the island fortress and is practically inescapable for the Ukrainians who upon their arrival are served documents preventing them from leaving for two years.
Despite being Russia's largest island, Sakhalin has a population of just 127,000 people many of whom are employed as fishermen or in the island's extensive energy production sector.
The population of the island are said to be very militaristic and proud of Russia's military history, owing to the World War Two roots of the island's occupation.
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Before 1945, the island was controlled by the Japanese and as a result, many authentic Japanese buildings can be seen on the island, spread amongst the statues and plaques commemorating the Soviet reclamation.
The island is notoriously hard to live on and is one of Russia's coldest regions with the temperature not getting above 0C for much of the Winter.
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Once the Ukrainians arrive on the island it is thought Putin intends to put them to work and assimilate them into becoming Russian citizens.
Indeed one Russian State TV pundit said that Putin's chilling endgame was "to erase the very idea of being a Ukrainian ".
He said: "This idea (of being Ukrainian) needs to be erased from start to finish. It's been poisoning the lives of slavic people, for 100 years.
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"In reality, Russian people we're told 'now you're going to be' (Ukrainians). Even though the name itself is insulting, an insulting name, to be one of the Russian people and to suddenly become Ukrainians.
"The idea of being a Ukrainian, and one of the Russian people was told they're not Russian, you have to hate Russians and fight them. This idea needs to be totally eradicated."
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