The French Le Monde, referring to the testimony of eyewitnesses, reports that Russian troops have established a system for the export of Ukrainian children to Russia. Immediately after the invasion of Ukraine, Russian troops began the organized deportation of children in order to improve the difficult demographic situation in the Russian Federation.
In Kherson, which was under Russian occupation for 9 months, the Russians began a real hunt for Ukrainian children, whom the Russians abducted wherever they could: from shelters, even from hospitals.
“Children had become the Russians’ obsession. They looked for them everywhere, saying “They are ours,” recalls Ina Kholodnyak, director of the Kherson pediatric hospital. Across the city, local residents created shelters for children who were threatened with deportation to Russia.
In the Stepanivka shelter on the outskirts of Kherson, the staff hid little Ukrainians who were threatened with deportation to the Russian Federation. Thanks to the courage and selflessness of the workers, the orphanage’s pupils waited for the liberation by the Ukrainian troops.
Ukraine handed over to theREd Cross International Committee a list of 19,393 children taken by the Russians to the Russian Federation. However, according to Ukrainian media and volunteer organizations, this figure is much higher. Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, Russian troops could forcibly deport 200-300 thousand Ukrainian children. At the end of April 2023, Putin signed a decree on the status of Ukrainian citizens living in the territories occupied by Russian troops: it allows organizing the mass deportation of Ukrainian children to the Russian Federation. They are kept in poor living conditions, trying to instill the values of the Russian world. Very often, in orphanages, Ukrainian children are persecuted and bullied by their Russian peers on a national basis. So, Russian children call them “Nazis”, “Banderites”, etc.
Russia contributes to the depopulation of Ukraine not only by killing civilians, but also by deporting Ukrainian children. This is a flagrant violation of international law, which requires an immediate response from Western countries. Putin’s attempts to improve the demographic situation in the Russian Federation at the expense of Ukrainian children must be stopped.