According to a recent study of Russia’s systematic operations involving Ukrainian children, at least 6,000 Ukrainian children aged four months to 17 years of age are being held by Russia in “political re-education camps”.
The network consists of 43 camps, 11 of which are located over 500 miles from Ukraine’s border with Russia. This includes two camps in Siberia and one in Russia’s Far East. The furthest one is near the Pacific Ocean, approximately 3,900 miles from Ukraine’s border with the Russian Federation.
The Yale Humanitarian Research Lab study, funded by the U.S. State Department, also found that children from the camps are being placed with Russian foster families and that consent from their parents is collected under duress and routinely violated. In May 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree making it easier for Russia to adopt and give citizenship to Ukrainian children without parental care – and harder for Ukraine and surviving relatives to win them back.
In April 2022, Ukraine’s foreign ministry alerted the international community to the illegal adoption of Ukrainian children – numbers of which were noted as being over 150,000. Notably, the Commissioner for children's rights under the President of the Russian Federation Maria Lvova-Belova`s is implicated in the report. In October 2022, Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs identified her as a key player in the illegal adoption of Ukrainian children.
The report concludes that the operation is centrally coordinated by Moscow and that all levels of Russia’s government are involved. At least 12 of the individuals identified in the network were not on the U.S. and/or international sanction lists at the time the report was published. Notably, the 1948 Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide stipulates that a person commits the criminal offense of genocide where they forcibly transfer children of one group to another group.
Source: Conflict Observatory
Ukraine's government recently said that over 14,700 children have been deported to Russia, where some have been sexually exploited. The U.S. report, which relied on satellite imagery and public accounts, said that at least 6,000 children have been sent to camps but that the number is "likely significantly higher." These numbers are not final.
As of the morning of Feb. 14, over 1,384 children have either been killed or injured in Ukraine as a result of Russia’s full-scale armed aggression in the country. According to official information of juvenile prosecutors reported on Telegram, 461 children have been killed and over 923 injured to various degrees of severity. The number of children who have been killed, wounded or illegally abducted by Russia remains uncertain.
On Feb. 13, a 14-year-old boy was wounded as a result of enemy shelling in the city of Liman, Donetsk region.
Several federal, regional, and local figures directly engaged in operating and politically justifying the program have been identified. Source: Conflict Observatory.
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