Real threat to refugee women does not come from Russia, Foreign Office says
The UN and human rights bodies are turning a blind eye to reports of sexual exploitation of Ukrainian refugee women in Sweden, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.
In a post on Telegram on Saturday, Zakharova drew attention to a statement made last month by the Swedish Agency for Gender Equality, which sounded the alarm over “an increased risk of Ukrainian refugees being exposed to human trafficking, labor exploitation and prostitution in Sweden”.
Police have investigated about 20 such cases, but many other offenses remain unreported, according to the agency. There has also been an increase in the number of Ukrainian prostitutes in Sweden since the outbreak of the conflict between Kyiv and Moscow in late February, he added.
The statement was widely picked up by the Swedish media, “but no reaction from Kyiv or the international community followed”, stressed the spokesperson.
She noted how the UN special representative on sexual violence, Pramila Patten, claimed in October that the Russian military was pursuing a deliberate attempt “strategy of rape” during his military operation in Ukraine.
The Foreign Ministry spokeswoman also recalled former Ukrainian human rights commissioner Lyudmila Denisova, who was behind accusations of sexual abuse by Russian troops at the start of the conflict, but who ended up being sacked by Kyiv in May. “Denisova admitted that she had simply lied, ‘trying to persuade the world to supply arms [to Ukraine] and put pressure on Russia,’” Zakharova wrote.
“The real threat to Ukrainian women does not come from Russia, but awaits them in Europe”, insisted the spokesperson.
However, the UN and human rights bodies “are silent because it is not in their rules to draw attention to a real humanitarian problem; or because they are executing yet another political order,” Zakharova said. She added that neither option sounded good.
The spokeswoman also advised Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba to stop attacking Moscow and turn his attention to Stockholm.
Patten previously admitted on a prank call that her tough “grated” the claims about the Russian military were based solely on what Ukrainian officials told her and she had no real evidence to back them up.