• Thousands of Ukrainians have been sent to Russian "filtration camps," a US official said. 
  • Russia is using the camps to interrogate Ukrainian civilians who have government or military ties, the official alleged.
  • Some detainees reportedly had their phones searched for signs of opposition to the ongoing war. 

Russian forces have abducted thousands of Ukrainians from their homes and sent them to so-called "filtration camps," a top US official said on Thursday. 

"At least several thousand" Ukrainians have been abducted and processed in the camps, said Michael Carpenter, US ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), in remarks to the agency's permanent council in Vienna. 

The "filtration camps" are being used by Russian troops to interrogate Ukrainian civilians for any government or military ties, Carpenter said, adding that some detainees reportedly had their phones confiscated and searched for any signs of opposition to President Vladimir Putin's ongoing war. 

"Russia's soldiers are forcibly relocating civilians, whose homes, cities, and towns have been mercilessly barraged for months with shells, missiles, and bombs, to Russia — the very country causing all the needless suffering," Carpenter said. 

Carpenter also said "tens of thousands" of Ukrainians have been abducted and sent to Russia or Russian-controlled territory —  claims Ukrainian officials have made for weeks now. 

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

Read the original article on Business Insider