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Ukrainian Ombudsman for Children’s Rights Daria Herasymczuj: Russia has deported over 16,000 children who are Russified

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The International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin. The judges found that there are real grounds to believe that Putin is responsible for war crimes involving the unlawful deportation of children and adults from occupied Ukraine to Russia. Daria Herasymchuk, the Ukrainian ombudsman for children’s rights, reported that “Russia has taken over 16,000 children by force from Ukraine, who are Russified and trained to fight against Ukrainians.”

The ICC also issued an arrest warrant on Friday for the Russian commissioner for children’s rights, Maria Lvova-Belova, accused of the same crimes as Putin.

The International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin

“The Russians entered Ukraine with a perfectly prepared plan, they know what they want. They want to annihilate the Ukrainian nation, which is why they kill children, use sexual violence against them, kidnap them, give them up for adoption and change their citizenship. This is a planned policy of genocide of the Ukrainian people,” said the Ukrainian spokeswoman for children’s rights, Daria Herasymchuk, in an interview with the Polish Press Agency.

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According to official, documented data from the Ukrainian side, the Russians deported 16,226 children from Ukraine. Only 308 have returned to their families in Ukraine so far. “We are not talking about thousands, but hundreds of thousands of kidnapped children. The Russian side gives the number of 738,000 allegedly evacuated children, but everyone understands perfectly well that this is not an evacuation, but a forced deportation, deportation “- she emphasized.

Decision on Putin ‘historical for Ukraine and the whole system of international law’

The fate of many children is unknown, as part of Ukraine’s territory is still occupied. Herasymchuk believes that after liberation the number of children kidnapped and taken to Russia will increase. “Unfortunately, the number of children killed and injured will also increase,” she admitted.

In contrast, the Ukrainian NGO Regional Center for Human Rights estimated in mid-January that the occupiers could forcibly deport from Ukraine 260,000 to 700,000 children. little The Ukrainians found themselves in the most diverse regions of Russia, from Dagestan and the Murmansk region to Sakhalin.

Herasymchuk: The Russians do not agree to any humanitarian corridors

Ukrainian children who end up in Russia are usually children from orphanages and war orphans. These are also children taken away from their parents who were detained by the Russian occupation authorities.

“These are mostly parents who do not agree to collaborate with the occupiers, for which they are punished by deprivation of parental rights. Children who do not have parents, but have siblings or relatives who can take care of them, are also taken away” – said Herasymczuk.

Children from orphanages are transported en masse. Russia does not agree to their return evacuation to their homeland, which is what the Ukrainian side is striving for, explained Herasymchuk. “The Russians do not agree to any humanitarian corridors so that we can take them to Ukraine-controlled territory. These children are first detained in the occupied territories and then end up in Russia,” she pointed out.

Media: The Russians abduct Ukrainian children en masse, little is found

Ukrainian children are ‘prepared for war against their own people’

Russian authorities also take children away, offering their parents to take them for treatment or rest in their country. “However, we know of cases when parents were intimidated that if they did not agree to such a trip, they would be deprived of parental rights. Some of these children also do not return to their families” – she noted.

According to the Ukrainian ombudsman for children’s rights, the Russians make it difficult for kidnapped children to contact their relatives in Ukraine. They take away their phones, do not let them inform their families about their whereabouts. “They tell the child that if no one claims it, it will be put up for adoption” – she said.

Children who are taken to Russia are subjected to Russification. They are forbidden to speak Ukrainian and are fed Russian propaganda, Herasymchuk added. “Ukrainian children are also placed in military camps (Russian paramilitary organization) Junarmia. This is the highest measure of cynicism, because Ukrainian children are prepared there for war against their own people,” she said.

According to the spokeswoman, the Russians are consciously breaking the rules of international law regarding the adoption of children. This is done with the consent of the highest authorities in Moscow. “The plenipotentiary of the President of the Russian Federation for children’s rights, Maria Lvova-Bielova, publicly says that she adopted a boy from Mariupol, whom she took from there herself. We have testimonies of children who managed to recover and who personally talked to Lvova-Belova, told her that they wanted to return home, they have family and parental contacts, but nevertheless they were sent to a foster family” – she said.

“The Russians are trying to steal our future by kidnapping our children”

In the search for abducted children, their families are primarily involved, and they can count on the support of Ukrainian state institutions and international organizations. If you make contact with such a child, someone close to you goes to Russia to pick it up.

“The children return with deep traumas. All of them receive psychological and medical help after their return. Many of them need treatment for wounds suffered as a result of warfare” – explains the Ukrainian spokeswoman.

“For every country, children are the future. The Russians are trying to steal our future by kidnapping our children. Therefore, we will fight for every child, no matter where they are,” assured Daria Herasymczuk.

Main photo source: Michele Ursi / Shutterstock.com

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