An American study estimates that at least 6,000 Ukrainian children have been deported to Russia and Crimea to be “re-educated”
Russia has held at least 6,000 Ukrainian children, probably many more, at sites in Crimea (occupied and annexed by Moscow in 2014) and Russia under Russian control, whose main goal appears to be “political re-education,” according to a US-backed report released Tuesday.
The report, by Yale University researchers, identifies at least 43 camps and other facilities where Ukrainian children have been held as part of a “large-scale systematic network” operated by Moscow since its February invasion of Ukraine. of 2022. Among the children there are some considered orphans by Russia, others who were in the care of Ukrainian state institutions before the invasion. But there are also children with families, some even with clearly identified families.
“The main purpose of the camp facilities that we have identified appears to be political re-education,” Nathaniel Raymond, one of the researchers, said in a briefing for journalists. Some of the children were moved through the system and adopted by Russian families, or placed in foster homes in Russia, according to the report.
The youngest child identified in the Russian program was just four months old, and some camps were giving military training to children as young as 14, Raymond said, adding that investigators had found no evidence that those children were subsequently sent to combat. Moscow has denied intentionally targeting civilians in what it calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine, and has rejected earlier claims that it had forcibly relocated Ukrainians.
The report was the latest produced by the Yale University School of Public Health’s Humanitarian Research Laboratory as part of a State Department-backed project that has examined human rights violations and war crimes allegedly committed. for Russia.
“What is documented in this report is a clear violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention”, the agreement that protects civilians in times of war, argued Raymond, who also recalled that the transfer of children for the purpose of changing , altering or eliminating national identity may constitute a component act of the crime of genocide.
“This network stretches from one end of Russia to the other,” he said, adding that investigators believe the number of facilities holding Ukrainian children exceeds 43. (Reuters)