Residents of occupied Donbas to have phone calls recorded — Ukraine’s human rights commissioner

21 February 2022, 03:35 PM

Residents of non-government controlled areas of the Donbas have received notice that their telephone conversations are to be recorded, Ukrainian Parliamentary Commissioner for Human Rights Lyudmyla Denisova said in a Facebook post on Feb. 20.

"According to my representative in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, citizens in the occupied territories have started receiving SMS messages that their conversations will be recorded and messages on Facebook and social messengers will be documented," she wrote.

Denisova stressed that these actions violate the provisions of the U.N. Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, which guarantee the right to confidentiality.

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Denisova also commented on media reports about disruptions of Internet and mobile communications services in some areas of Luhansk Oblast.

"These actions of mobile (telecom) operators have led to a violation of the rights of Ukrainian citizens to receive socially important information, especially in the current context of the escalating armed conflict," she said.

Amid the deployment of Russian troops to the border of Ukraine, Russian proxy forces have stepped up shelling in the Donbas. On Feb. 19, Russian proxies violated the ceasefire in Donbas at least 136 times. Two Ukrainian servicemen were killed in the shelling. Four more were wounded, and one sustained combat injuries.

The self-declared authorities announced the relocation of residents of the non-government-controlled territories, allegedly because Ukraine’s Armed Forces were preparing an "offensive operation.” They have also called for the mandatory conscription of males between 18-55.

This claim of an offensive has been denied by the Ukrainian government, and there is no evidence that Ukraine is preparing to launch one.

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