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US: Russia is compiling lists of Ukrainians 'to be killed or sent to camps' following invasion

Henadz Zhinkov/Xinhua via Getty Images

Russian forces are now compiling lists of identiable Ukrainian citizens that they plan to kill or send to prison camps following an impending military invasion, the United States government warned in a letter to the United Nations on Sunday.

What are the details?

In the letter, addressed to the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, Michelle Bachelet, the U.S. warned it has "credible information" that Moscow plans to carry out widespread and preplanned targeted killings, forced disappearances, and torture in the Eastern European country — abuses that would amount to a "human rights catastrophe."

The Washington Post first obtained and reported on the letter. It has reportedly been verified by at least three high-ranking U.S. government officials.

"I would like to bring to your attention disturbing information recently obtained by the United States that indicates that human rights violations and abuses in the aftermath of a further invasion are being planned," wrote Bathsheba Nell Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, in the letter.

Crocker went on to say the violence would likely be directed at those who oppose Russia's actions, such as Russian and Belarusian dissidents in exile in Ukraine, journalists, activists, and other "vulnerable populations such as religious and ethnic minorities and LGBTQI+ persons."

"Specifically, we have credible information that indicates Russian forces are creating lists of identified Ukrainians to be killed or sent to camps following a military occupation," she said. "We also have credible information that Russian forces will likely use lethal measures to disperse peaceful protests or otherwise counter peaceful exercises of perceived resistance from civilian populations."

The letter did not divulge the nature of the intelligence reportedly obtained.

What else?

Speaking with reporters on Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov vehemently denied the letter's claims.

"Do you realize that this is an absolute canard, a lie? It is absolute fiction. There is no such list. It’s a fake," Peskov fumed, according to the Washington Post.

But the contents of the letter come as no surprise to experts. Russia's violent intimidation campaigns and human rights abuses are well understood, and Foreign Policy reported on Friday that U.S. agencies had recently become aware that Russia was planning to launch an aggressive arrest and assassination campaign.

Biden said last week he was "convinced" Russia had made a final decision to invade Ukraine, alleging the assault could happen in the "coming days" and would likely include an attack on the capital, Kyiv.

Russia has massed an estimated 150,000 troops along its border with Ukraine in recent months and has been threatening military action with increasing intensity of late.

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