Illegal deportation and forced displacement of Ukrainian children

15 November 2023

Under the pretext of the so-called evacuation, recreation or healthcare, Ukrainian children were taken to the Russian Federation, Belarus and the territory of the occupied Crimean Peninsula and South Ossetia (the occupied region of Georgia).

These children undergo russification, military indoctrination, they become subjects of the Russian propaganda and sometimes they are engaged in joining the Russian army to fight against Ukraine.

Information about the victims of illegal transfers and adoptions remains unknown since Russia refuses to provide information on their whereabouts, as well as to facilitate the repatriation of such children.

According to some estimates, there might be around 200 thousand Ukrainian children displaced to Russia.
As of September 2023, Ukrainian NGOs, local authorities and independent media, with joint efforts, managed to return only 386 children out of 19,546 from the territories controlled by Russia. These actions of the Russian Federation have been repeatedly condemned by the international community.

These actions of the Russian Federation have been repeatedly condemned by the international community. On March 17, 2023, the International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for president Vladimir Putin and the Russian president’s Commissioner for Children’s Rights Maria Lvova-Belova, in connection with the illegal deportation of children from the occupied territories of Ukraine to Russia.

Those children who have parents or other relatives, receive a chance to return home, but it becomes a long journey, full of risks and obstacles.

Tetiana Ursol is a Ukrainian Army’s reservist. She started her shift in Mariupol city on 23 February 2022 just one day before the Russian invasion started. Because of her work, she couldn’t take her three children out of the conflict zone and, thus, they were forcibly displaced to the Russian occupied territory.

As a Ukrainian military, Tetiana could not go to rescue her children. And only their grandmother managed to take them back to Ukraine through Georgian territory.

You can watch Tetiana’s and two other stories from the Kyiv Independent investigation following this link.


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