July 29, 2022
Best of the Week — First Winner
AP investigation finds Ukrainian refugees forcibly evacuated, subjected to abuse in Russia
The idea for this deeply reported story emerged months ago when AP noticed Ukrainian refugees being sent to Russia — then disappearing.
The process was painstaking, but AP spoke with 36 Ukrainians, most of them from the devastated city of Mariupol, all of whom were sent to Russia. Some had made their way to other countries, but almost a dozen were still in Russia, an important find. The refugees’ personal stories humanized the larger findings of the investigation: Ukrainian civilians have indeed been forced into Russia, subjected along the way to human rights abuses, from interrogation to being yanked aside and never seen again.
The story was widely used and cited by other news organizations, and a week after it ran it was still near the top for AP reader engagement.
For teamwork across borders that resulted in the most extensive and revealing investigation yet into the forcible transfers of Ukrainian refugees, the team of Lori Hinnant, Vasilisa Stepanenko, Cara Anna, Sara El Deeb and colleagues in Russia and Georgia earns AP’s Best of the Week — First Winner.