Ukrainian children are being abducted by Russia – and an international criminal court has indicted President Vladimir Putin over it.
“Reasonable grounds to believe that each suspect bears responsibility for the war crime of unlawful deportation of population, and that of unlawful transfer of population from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation, in prejudice of Ukrainian children,” the court’s pre-trial judge stated.
According to reports, some of these children are being adopted by Russian families under the pretext of ‘saving them from the Ukrainian war.’ However, Ukraine considers this act as a war crime.
Russia has admitted to holding at least 1,400 Ukrainian orphans.
The children who were reportedly abducted were either taken to “re-education” camps and never reunited with their parents, or they were orphaned due to the tragic circumstances of their parents being murdered or imprisoned.
According to the Ukrainian Regional Centre for Human Rights, which has calculated its figure from statements by the Russian state, only 400 have actually been adopted by Russian families.
A significant number of these children have families who are still searching for them.
The official statements from the Russian government regarding the orphans lack specific information such as the names of the children, their origin, or their current location within Russia.
This absence of details poses challenges for Ukrainian and international authorities in their efforts to identify the children and monitor their whereabouts.
What are these “re-education” camps?
The 43 Russian camps, which occupy areas in Moscow-annexed Crimea and Siberia, were advertised in order for the children to have breaks from the war.
A few parents have succeeded in reuniting with their children by undertaking a lengthy journey from Ukraine, passing through Poland and the Baltic countries, and finally reaching southern Russia.
In other cases, parents have entrusted secret networks of anti-Putin volunteers with power of attorney to help bring their children out of Russia.
Videos released by the regional Russian occupying authorities in November depicted numerous children who were still residing in the camps.
Whilst the UN (United Nations) prohibits the “illicit transfer and non-return of children abroad”, Russia persists that they are saving the children, stating that they’d have a higher chance of success if they are brought up in Russian families.
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What do you make of this horrific situation?