KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine is accusing Russia of forcibly relocating hundreds of thousands of residents to Russia from devastated Ukrainian cities so they can be used as “hostages” to pressure Kyiv to give up.

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The claims could not be independently verified.

Ukraine’s ombudsperson said Thursday that 402,000 people, including 84,000 children, have been taken to Russia, where some have reported shortages of food and water.

Russia says the people it is evacuating civilians of their own free will.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s navy says it sank a large landing ship near the port city of Berdyansk that had been used to supply Russian forces with armored vehicles.

And Russia claims to have taken the eastern town of Izyum after fierce fighting.

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