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Published in Stream:
Russia Update: April 29, 2015
Press by
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
US International Rescue Committee Expelled from 'Donetsk People's Republic for 'Espionage'
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LifeNews, a pro-Kremlin TV station which cooperates close with law-enforcement and intelligence (as we recently re-confirmed), reports that the minister of state security of the self-proclaimed "Donetsk People's Republic" (DNR) has expelled seven staff members of the International Rescue Committee (IRC) supposedly for "espionage".

A DNR official told LifeNews (translation by The Interpreter):

"They state that they are providing help to women and girls suffering from any forms of violence and suffering post-traumatic stress. However, this help is of an exclusively psychological nature, they have reduced the holding of group sessions, individual consultations, interest groups, master classes and so on down to questions about the attitudes to and relations with the DNR authorities."

Mariya Petrova, a spokeswoman for the ministry of security (MGB) admitted to LifeNews on camera that the way the they knew about these activities is that they planted unannounced security agents in the workshops.

She said that a large number of completed questionnaires by DNR residents were found in the IRC office.

DNR-IRC.jpg

DNR militant in the IRC office in Donetsk. The LifeNews subtitle says Charges of Espionage: DNR Minister of State Security Deported Employees of UN Mission. In fact the IRC is not part of the UN Mission, but is a non-governmental organization with consultative status at the UN.

Another MGB spokesman claimed that the foreign relief workers "actively establish contacts with officials of DNR ministries and agencies" and that "special devices for audio surveillance" were found in the office.

In late February and early March, six IRC workers and field manager Bryce Perry came to work in the area of the line of contact with the Ukrainian army. The DNR believes that instead of providing humanitarian relief, they gathered information about the Russian-backed militant forces. Perry denied the charges saying in fact officials led them to the line of contact:

"We were supposed to begin our work, and begin to open our aid program. The local administration gave us lists of the most needy residents and we began to work in this area. We also talked to people and determined which regions most needed our help, and it turn out that most of all, it was in these regions."


But after inspecting the group, the ministry of security decided to expel them. They were taken to a checkpoint in the direction of Zaporozhe and put on a bus to Kiev.

The IRC is a non-government world-wide humanitarian organization founded in 1933 that operates in 40 countries, notably in the current crises in Nepal and Yemen. The current CEO is David Milliband, the former British Labor Party leader and member of parliament.

The group has not made any statement yet about its expulsion. In the past, it has been expelled from other countries with authoritarian governments, such as Sudan.

Last week, IRC had a press release featuring the coverage in the New York Times for their work in an article on April 23 titled "A Population Uprooted by Ukraine's War Struggles to Get By" addressing the crisis of 1.2 million displaced people.

“The end of hostilities is not the end of this story,” said Bryce Perry, a field director for the International Rescue Committee working in Ukraine. “It’s really the beginning of a humanitarian crisis that the world needs to wake up and respond to.”


The article was accompanied by a video describing the ordeals of some of the women displaced.

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick