Moldova’s parliament on Thursday (30 May) denounced Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as “genocide” in connection with Moscow’s treatment of children in occupied areas, but the assembly’s Moscow-friendly opposition parties refused to take part in the vote.

Sixty deputies in the 101-seat assembly backed the declaration, joining several national parliaments in adopting similar documents and also offering to continue extending assistance to Ukrainians fleeing the conflict.

The more than two-year-old invasion, denounced by pro-European President Maia Sandu, has buffeted the country lying between Ukraine and Moldova, with a large number of drone and missile fragments falling on its territory.

Parliament’s deputy speaker, Doina Gherman, documented the numbers of children killed or missing in the conflict, along with nearly 20,000 taken away to Russia, according to Ukrainian government figures.

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Opposition member Reghina Apostolova accused Sandu’s Party of Action and Solidarity (PAS) of double standards, saying the chamber should also denounce sufferings of children in the former Yugoslavia. Communist Deputy Oleg Reidman urged caution, saying genocide was a legal term with criteria to be met.

Radu Marian of the ruling PAS rejected opposition objections, saying “These are our neighbours. Thousands of Ukrainian children, the children of refugees, have been housed here.”

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Russia rejected allegations that it has abducted or deported Ukrainian children, saying they have been taken to safe areas, away from the conflict.

The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant in March 2023 for Russian President Vladimir Putin, citing the forced transfer of children to Russia.

 

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